FORMER Dudley Council leader Les Jones is to stand for the vacant position of West Midlands police and crime commissioner next month.

The Pedmore and Stourbridge East councillor has been nominated as the Conservative candidate for the commissioner's role when voters go to the polls on August 21.

The by-election follows the sudden death of previous commissioner Bob Jones, whose funeral was being held in Wolverhampton today (Wednesday).

Les Jones confirmed this week: "I've always had an interest in police matters and I was on the Police Authority for a number of years.

"I believe very strongly in the PCC's role and the importance of the link between police and the public and feel that Bob's untimely death has left a huge void.

"I would be representing an electorate of two and half million as the West Midlands covers the whole of the Black Country, Birmingham, Solihull and Coventry which is quite a daunting thought, but I've got experience of the wider picture and I'm used to handling big budgets, especially when I was chairman of finance on the old West Midlands Police Authority."

If elected, Mr Jones has no immediate plans to step down from Dudley Council of which he was leader from 2011 to 2012.

He added: "A councillor's role has only ever been a part-time job, most councillors also have full time jobs and I see no reason to sever links in the short term.

"I will be up for election in 2016 in any event, as will the PCC's position."