GRACIOUS IN DEFEAT: Bishop Derek Webley (r) with Desmond Jaddoo
IT WAS disappointment and joy for two leading members of Birmingham’s African Caribbean community who were involved in the race for the first ever West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC)
Bishop Derek Webley, who stood as an independent in the seven-candidate line-up, was gracious in defeat as Wolverhampton Labour city councillor Bob Jones took the PCC crown for the West Midlands.
But Jones’ victory means his deputy Yvonne Mosquito, one of Birmingham city council’s five African Caribbean councillors, now has a role helping to hold the UK’s second largest police force to account. It is expected that Mosquito, who also chairs the Ladywood District, will have responsibility for Birmingham.
Webley, the outgoing chair of the now defunct West Midlands Police Authority, who was eliminated in the first round of voting, said: “Bob has won fair and square so now we must ensure we all work together to put people first.
“ I firmly believe that party politics should not be involved in policing but people have voted along party lines and that is democracy. However, I feel an immensely proud man to have received such great support not just from African Caribbeans but from all communities.”
ELECTED: Bob Jones, the West Midlands newly elected Police and Crime Commissioner with Councillor Yvonne Mosquito
Mosquito said she was determined to improve dialogue, trust and confidence between all communities adding that ‘justice has no colour.’
“I’m very conscious of the serious challenges that face West Midlands Police and I want us to work together to address issues of community safety to make the West Midlands the safest place in the country,” she said. “Crime is down and we want to keep it down.”
While Webley said he was determined to build on the show of unity demonstrated between two rival inner-city gangs during a campaign rally held in his Lozells church before polling day.
He said: “For me the unprecedented sight of the Johnsons and the Burgers standing together in church was the most significant part of my whole campaign and I intend to build on that.
“The rally in church went far beyond a PCC election campaign. I am now 100 per cent committed to cementing community cohesion and serving humanity.
Webley dismissed suggestions that it was part of a stage-managed pre-election campaign, adding: “I got to know some of the gang members when we worked together and appeared in the film 1 Day,” he said. “I had no idea they were going to come on to the altar and support me in the way they did.”
Desmond Jaddoo, founder of the Birmingham Empowerment Forum, and part of the national campaign to mobilise the black vote, said he intended to write to Prime Minister David Cameron to campaign for a new role for Webley.
He said: “I want Cameron to consider making him a ‘gang tsar’ across the UK as he has much to offer in that role. It was an historic sight to see gang members uniting like that and we need to build on it because these young people need role models.”