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Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster has written to West Midlands Mayor Andy Street after he failed to accept his challenge for a public debate. Here is the letter in full.

Dear Mayor Street

Re: Proposed Transfer of PCC powers to the Mayor

Thank you for your letter dated 3 January 2024. Let me cut through the humbug. The debates will be with me and the time is now. I believe that you are better than this. I can only imagine you have been badly advised. Your reply is disappointing and disrespectful. It is a masterpiece of avoidance, deflection and diversion, that resolutely avoids actually dealing with the matter in hand.

Let me remind you what that is. On 20 December 2023, the Home Secretary launched a public consultation. It asks respondents: “Do you agree or disagree with the transfer of PCC functions to the Mayor of the West Midlands.” You are the Mayor and you agree. I am the Police and Crime Commissioner and I disagree. It is plain common sense, that any public debate must take place on the earliest available dates within the consultation period, so as to achieve the aims of raising awareness, understanding our respective positions and encouraging participation.

Although you state you are ‘keen’ and ‘more than happy’ to participate in the proposed series of debates, you then raise a range of excuses, too numerous to mention, as to why you are unable to do so. That is simply not good enough.

You are either prepared to engage in public debate with me or you are not. You either have the courage of your convictions or you do not. You either respect the people of the West Midlands and are prepared to state your case in public debate or you are not. If you persist with avoidance, deflection and diversion, then the people of the West Midlands and I will draw our own conclusions.

As a consequence of the consultation concluding on 31 January 2024, a timescale imposed by the Home Secretary, I must ask you to confirm your acceptance of my challenge by 4.00pm on Friday 5 January 2024. If you do not accept my challenge, I will assume that you are not prepared to engage in public debate on the proposed transfer of PCC powers to the Mayor.

Yours sincerely,

Simon Foster

Police and Crime Commissioner

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