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The Police and Crime Commissioner says he’s very concerned people in the West Midlands might wrongly believe the upcoming PCC election in May has been cancelled, when in fact it has not.

Simon Foster says announcements by the Mayor, which said the Home Secretary had approved his plans to transfer the current PCC powers to his office after the next election, misled the public into believing the PCC election, due to be held in May, was to be cancelled.

In reality, the government has recently launched a last-minute public consultation, asking the public if they want the transfer to go ahead. The announcement of the public consultation followed the PCC having challenged the Mayor and the government, because he believed they had broken the law, by not consulting the public before approving plans to transfer the PCC powers to the Mayor.

Commentators have noted that it is strange for a public consultation to take place after a decision had already been made by the Home Secretary. 

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster, said: “The PCC election is scheduled to take place in May and it’s important the public understand that.

“I believe that both the Mayor and the Home Secretary broke the law, by not asking the public what they think of their plans before approving them. 

“I’m concerned the Mayor and the Home Secretary have confused and misled the public by announcing a public consultation after a decision had already been made by the Home Secretary.

“By announcing that the Home Secretary had approved the transfer of PCC powers to the Mayor, this has undermined the government’s own consultation, because members of the public might reasonably think there is no point responding to a consultation relating to the transfer of PCC powers, if there is to be no PCC election in May.

“It is a matter of serious concern that inexcusably and inexplicably, neither the Mayor nor the Home Secretary have sought to correct the previously misleading impression they both gave to the public, that there is to be no PCC election in May.

“I am also concerned the media have been misled and therefore it has not been made clear to the public that they should still be expecting to cast their vote in May.  

“In addition, potential candidates for the upcoming PCC election, especially independents without the backing of a major party, will be unaware an election is due to take place and might therefore not consider running for office, throwing into doubt the fairness and openness of the whole electoral process. The PCC election is scheduled to take place on May 2nd this year and is due to proceed as planned.

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