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The West Midlands Mayor has refused to publicly debate his planned takeover of the Police and Crime Commissioner powers with the current West Midlands PCC Simon Foster.

PCC Foster has written to the Mayor twice to invite him to hold three public debates across the West Midlands to raise awareness of the planned takeover and help the public form a view on the takeover, so they can contribute to the last-minute consultation being run by the Home Secretary.

But Mayor Street has refused to take part. Instead, he has set out a series of conditions that he wants met before agreeing to publicly debate his plans.

Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster said: “The deadline has passed and Mayor Street has failed to accept my challenge to a public debate.

“It is common sense that a public debate must take place between myself as the PCC and the Mayor – and that must be within the existing consultation period so as to achieve the aims of raising awareness, understanding our respective positions and encouraging participation.

“Although the Mayor states he is ‘keen’ and ‘more than happy’ to participate in the proposed series of debates, he then raises a range of excuses as to why he is unable to do so. That is simply not good enough.

“The Mayor is either prepared to engage in public debate with me or he is not. He either has the courage of his convictions or he does not. He either respects the people of the West Midlands and is prepared to state his case in public debate or he is not.

“I believe that the people of the West Midlands will draw their own conclusions from the Mayor’s refusal to accept my challenge to a public debate on plans he is determined to force through by any means necessary.”

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