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The West Midlands Mayor and the Home Secretary have lost a public consultation that was launched following a legal challenge by Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster.

A majority of the people who responded to the consultation disagreed with the Mayor’s proposed takeover of the PCC functions in the West Midlands.

The Home Office has been asking the public what they think of the Mayor’s proposal to transfer the Police and Crime Commissioner powers to the Mayor, but with the results published it turns out that 50 percent of people disagreed with the Mayor’s plan, whilst only 46 per cent of people agreed and 4 per cent said they didn’t know.

In 2019 the Mayor tried to transfer the powers of the PCC to the Mayoralty, but back then he needed the support of the leaders of the region’s councils – something it transpired he did not have.

The Mayor then announced plans to take-over the PCC powers after the government changed the law specially to allow him to unilaterally make the decision to do so. The Home Secretary then approved the Mayor’s request.

PCC Foster challenged the Home Secretary and the Mayor. He pointed out that the failure to hold a public consultation was unlawful. As a consequence, the Home Secretary launched a last-minute public consultation in connection with a decision that he had already made.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster, said: “The Mayor and the Home Secretary had no intention of asking the people of the West Midlands what they thought until I forced them into a humiliating climbdown and they had to launch a public consultation.

“The Mayor was unable to secure the democratic consent of the region’s councils; he then failed to act in accordance with the law; and he has now lost a public consultation. Yet, the Mayor is persisting with his hostile takeover in defiance of the region’s councils and against the will of the people.

“I am concerned that this will mean more cuts, more chaos and more crime. I call on the Mayor and the Home Secretary to listen to the public’s wishes and end this proposed hostile takeover.

“The arrogant and high-handed Mayor and Home Secretary are treating elected representatives and the people of the West Midlands with contempt and are taking us for fools. The Mayor’s decision to attempt a hostile takeover of PCC powers has been exposed for what it is – a cynical, divisive and undemocratic power grab.

“Let me be clear, I am committed to complying with my pledge to the electorate. I will not hesitate to hold the Mayor and the Home Secretary to account. That is why I am now considering what further action is required in order to defend democracy, the rule of law and the rights of the people I represent.”

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