Police chiefs court pledge over Metro Mayor power struggle - The Coventry Observer

Police chiefs court pledge over Metro Mayor power struggle

Coventry Editorial 21st Feb, 2024   0

THE WEST Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has announced he is taking the home secretary to court as the power struggle to transfer his role to the region’s mayor continues.

Simon Foster said he has applied for a judicial review to challenge the ‘hostile takeover’ of PCC powers by the West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street.

The Labour PCC said: “This is a matter that is entirely of the Mayor’s own making. I have repeatedly advised him not to waste tax payers’ money, proceeding with his cynical, divisive and undemocratic power grab, that is in no-one’s interests, save that of the Mayor.

“The Home Secretary and the Mayor adopted an unlawful procedure in December 2023. I had to take legal action, to compel them to launch a last minute, panic driven, 11th hour public consultation. The Mayor then refused to engage in public debate with me.

“I was refused the opportunity to make my case before the Combined Authority Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The Home Secretary and Mayor then failed to secure a mandate via the public consultation, because a majority of people disagreed with the transfer of PCC powers to the Mayor.

“The Mayor has repeatedly failed to make to make out his case. Yet, he is persisting with his hostile takeover, in defiance of local democracy, contrary to the principles of devolution and against the will of the people.

“The very last thing we need is a Mayor, who is in denial of the catastrophic and devastating damage his own government has inflicted on our police service, executing a hostile takeover of policing in the West Midlands. It would mean, more cuts, more chaos and more crime.

“That is why, I will not hesitate to take the action necessary, to hold the Home Secretary and the Mayor to account, to defend democracy, the rule of law and the rights of the people I represent.”

A spokesperson for the Mayor said: “Perhaps if the PCC had put this much energy into his job over the last three years then we wouldn’t be in a situation where crime has doubled with his force in special measures.

“We dread to think how much taxpayer money is being wasted on London lawyers by the PCC in trying to save his job, money that should be in the West Midlands Police budget to be spent on frontline officers.

“To be really clear the Mayor is not subject to this judicial review, and has no intention of backing away from taking the tough steps required to tackle the scourge of crime across the West Midlands.”


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