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Former police officer chosen as Tory candidate to fight in region's upcoming crime commissioner elections

The Conservative Party has announced a former police officer will be its candidate in the upcoming West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner elections.

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Tom Byrne has been named as the Conservative Party's candidate

Former West Midlands Police officer Tom Byrne, who was recently an aide to West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, will be fighting to win the election on May 2.

The 29-year-old will face Labour Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster, who last month won legal action against a Home Office move to end his role.

Mr Byrne claims Labour has failed the region for more than a decade and people felt less safe, despite a rise in taxes.

He highlighted the issues of police stations in the region being under threat of closure and that West Midlands Police had effectively been placed into special measures – although the chief constable has denied claims his force is failing.

Mr Byrne said: “Enough is enough.

“The West Midlands needs a Conservative police and crime commissioner to bring an end to Labour failure, which has been unfolding here for years.

“I have a clear plan to tackle the problems caused by successive Labour police and crime commissioners who have been closing police stations while crime is soaring and allowing us to have the highest rate of knife crime in the country.

"Regular tax increases have failed to deliver consistent improvements.

“I know people living and working here just want to feel safe in their communities and my plans will make that happen."

He pledged to halt further police station closures and strengthen neighbourhood policing.

"I’ll help ensure our hard-working police officers have the resources they need to tackle the violent crime and anti-social behaviour we see across our region," he added.

“And I’ll stop the wasteful spending we’ve seen for years, too.

“I will end over a decade of Labour failure on crime, and I will make the West Midlands safer.”

The full list of candidates will be published after nominations close later this week.

It follows an unsuccessful appeal last month by the Home Office at the Court of Appeal which confirmed West Midland's Mayor Andy Street will not be able to proceed with his takeover of police and crime commissioner powers.

Mr Foster said he was pleased the people of the West Midlands will now have the right to vote for a "democratically elected and directly accountable" police and crime commissioner at next month's election.

The police and crime commissioner is an elected individual whose job it is to make sure West Midlands Police is run effectively and is focusing on reducing crime.

They hold the local police force to account and have the power to hire and fire the chief constable.

The police and crime commissioner decides what the force should be focusing on and the crimes it should prioritise, as well as setting the budget.