Celebration of the Life of Bob Jones - Order of service and tribute from Yvonne Mosquito

Acting Police and Crime Commissioner Yvonne Mosquito will share her tribute to Bob Jones at the event to celebrate his life today.

We occupy a world, where people in the main, judge and are judged by their appearance.  However Bob's values surpassed the superficiality of colour co-ordination or straight ties. He was concerned with what was comfortable and what made others feel comfortable. This perspective was evident in every aspect of his life.

I remember explaining to him that certain communities, simply would not understand a leader, their leader, wearing a cagoule, tee-shirt, well worn jeans, well worn trainers - or as he would describe them walking shoes - and carrying a well used rucksack.  But, I, was wrong. I observed that as people got to know Bob and realised he had integrity, believed in equality and was sincere, issues of dress sense were eclipsed.

What a person truly believes, will manifest in how they behave. Being around Bob for eighteen years I can tell you, there was no misalignment between what he believed, what he said, and how he acted.

Bob was exceptionally intelligent and his knowledge of policing was second to none. He was assertive, had a quiet confidence but never adopted any air of superiority. He quietly carried his significant responsibilities.

It is well known that he did sometimes struggle with professionals who could, or should, do better and they were left knowing where they stood. ....Usually on lightly scorched ground.

He was hugely respected and was protective of the police officers and police staff and wanted to improve the relationships between the community and the police. He saw us as a bridge. And there was no doubt he believed we had one of the best Chief Constables in the country

As he travelled by bus and train throughout Sandwell, Coventry, Dudley, Walsall, Solihull Birmingham and Wolverhampton ..meeting people between meetings. A shared and collective consciousness developed, that Bob Jones was a good, decent and honourable man. Beyond the region, he was respected in his role within the APCC and the College of Policing and was recognised at a national level with his CBE for the contribution that he made to policing and community safety.

Bob was a quiet man. Inside the office and in public I witnessed his loyalty, sincerity, gentleness, kindness, his patience  and his great humility.

There is a biblical phrase "a mans pride will bring him low but the humble retain honour".

He wanted to ensure the many voices of the West Midlands were heard and he set up structures to do that. Those structures were inclusive, they were cross party, ethnically and gender balanced, they included competing voices. He also wanted to hear the voices of young people and established the 14 youth commissioners.

Bob had this overwhelming desire to embrace everyone who wanted him to help. No section of the community was unheard, he wanted to understand every problem. He rarely refused an invitation, unless he was already committed. Bob put the needs of the public, our police service and his family above his own needs - this what all great leaders do.

As a directly elected politician Bob had - power - but it wasn't immediately noticeable in the way he behaved or communicated with others. He used that power not for himself,  but to serve the diverse population of 29 parliamentary constituencies, 116 wards and the 2.8 million people of the West Midlands policing region.

He gave back millions of pounds to the seven local authorities, because he trusted local people to make decisions. He was clear about what he wanted, yet he was not demanding. He could get upset, but he was not resistant to honest counsel or advice. He worked hard to maintain transparency and accountability, and he never took a decision alone.

Bob said we would work as a true partnership and we did. He included me in everything and we shared everything. He was loyal and worthy of loyalty.

Bob's life has touched many lives in unseen ways. For example as a result of his and the Chief Constables leadership, people with mental health issues will have a first place of safety that will not have to be a cell in a custody block, but could be discreet assistance from a mental health nurse, a paramedic and a supportive police officer

Using money from reserves, by next year,  the West Midlands will see the recruitment of 450 new police officers...most of them, and most the people who they serve, won't have known Bob personally, but they will experience his legacy.

 He loved Sarah, Frances his granddaughter Emma. There was not a day he didn't mention one or all of their names.

Spiritually Bob Jones held my hand, supported me, empowered me, defended me, covered my scars with words of encouragement, quietly helped me to fight the good fight, removed my incorrect perceptions and told me what I could accomplish. Bob made me stronger.

Like walking in a empty room and catching the scent of someone's perfume,.... Bob's impact will continue long after he has gone..... I have quite simply lost one of the best people God has placed in my life....... Rest in peace Bob.