WEST Mercia Police's chief constable David Shaw has offered his congratulations to Bill Longmore after he was appointed the area's first ever Police and Crime Commissioner.

In a close-run contest for the £75,000-a-year post Independent Mr Longmore and Conservative candidate Adrian Blackshaw were split by little more than one per cent of the votes in the initial count.

A second count was carried out with the last placed candidate, Labour’s Simon Murphy, eliminated and his voters’ second choices being taken into account.

Chief constable Shaw said: "The election of a Police and Crime Commissioner is an important development for the public, West Mercia Police and partners, all of whom work together to make West Mercia a safe place to live, work and visit.

"Mr Longmore is already aware of the policing challenges West Mercia faces and I will be discussing these with him in greater detail when he takes up his role on Thursday, November 22.

"I thoroughly look forward to building a positive, professional working relationship with Mr Longmore as we enter an unprecedented period of change, challenge and opportunity."

As commissioner, Mr Longmore will now be responsible for setting West Mercia Police's budget, policing priorities and hiring or firing the chief constable, although the force will retain operational independence so decisions about investigations cannot be influenced by politics.