The man elected as West Mercia’s first-ever police commissioner has hailed his win as a victory for people power with voters turning their backs on the traditional political parties.
Independent candidate Bill Longmore, who lives in Hanwood, near Shrewsbury, beat Conservative candidate Adrian Blackshaw and Labour’s Simon Murphy at the vote count in Shrewsbury yesterday.
“It is a victory for common sense. The people have won because they voted for me and against politics in the police,” he said.
The election was marred by a record low turnout, with just 14.6 per cent of people bothering to vote in West Mercia.
In Telford & Wrekin, there was an 18.5 per cent turnout – the highest in West Mercia – but across the wider Shropshire area only 14.35 per cent went to the polls.
A second round of voting yesterday was required after no candidate could secure an overall majority, with Mr Longmore receiving 50,900 votes (37.7 per cent), Mr Blackshaw 49,298 (36.5 per cent) and Mr Murphy 34,652 (25.6 per cent), with 4,273 spoilt ballots. Mr Murphy was eliminated from the race, meaning the second choices of Labour supporters were counted, resulting in a comfortable victory for Mr Longmore, who worked for Staffordshire Police for 30 years and reached the rank of superintendent.
He said: “The people have put me into the position of commissioner and I shall try to do everything I said in my manifesto,” he said. “There are challenges, obviously austerity isn’t going to go away. I shall look at it with a common sense approach and hopefully we will come up with solutions.”