The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner has released the following statement. It relates to the proposal to transfer the current powers of the PCC to the Mayor in May next year.
The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill is nearing the end of the parliamentary process. If it gets Royal Assent in the next few days then it will give the Mayor the power to request, from the Home Secretary, for the PCC role to no longer exist after the May 2024 election and for the Mayor to take on the powers currently held by the PCC.
The following is written by Simon Foster, The Police and Crime Commissoner for the West Midlands:
“Your Vote; Your Choice; Your Power
On Monday 23 October, the government and the Mayor of the West Midlands, abolished your right to vote, for a democratically elected and directly accountable Police and Crime Commissioner of the West Midlands, for the election in May 2024. To their eternal shame, the Government and its Mayor are seeking to achieve through the back door, what they have been incapable of achieving through the Ballot Box.
They have removed your choice, as to who represents you, as your Police and Crime Commissioner. Make no mistake, this is not an evolution or a merger. It is profoundly undemocratic, it is deeply divisive and it is nothing more than a hostile takeover. This cynical power grab, is in no-one’s interests, save that of the government and its West Midlands Mayor.
The Mayor’s own Party have stood 4 times, for election to the role of West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner – and been roundly defeated on each and every occasion. That is because, the Mayor’s government is not trusted by the people of the West Midlands, when it comes to crime, policing, community safety and criminal justice.
The Mayor and his Party have plainly calculated, that the only way they can wrest control of policing governance in the West Midlands, is to abolish democracy altogether. I reflect on the fact, that we have a government and a Mayor that are prepared, so casually, in 2023, to abolish the right of the people of the West Midlands, to vote for their Police and Crime Commissioner.
I believe in the need for a democratically elected and directly accountable Police and Crime Commissioner, for whom policing, crime, community safety and criminal justice is the top priority. That is a commitment I made in my Manifesto and in my Police and Crime Plan.
The people should be able to decide for themselves, who they want to represent them as their Police and Crime Commissioner – because of the extensive and wide-ranging nature of the role and the significant levels of public interest and concern – when it comes to crime, policing, community safety and criminal justice. Instead, the Mayor just wants to appoint one of his friends to the role on the basis of patronage.
In May 2021, the people voted to retain a democratically elected and directly accountable Police and Crime Commissioner; a majority of the Constituent Authorities support retention of the role; and on 18 September, the House of Lords had previously voted in support of retaining a democratic election – for the role of Police and Crime Commissioner in May 2024.
So, I say, to Mayor Street: You still have an opportunity to put it to the people. Here is my challenge – have the courage, the integrity and the principles – to put it to the people – let the people decide – who they want to represent them as their Police and Crime Commissioner – on the 2 May 2024.
Let it be the people’s Vote: the People’s Choice and the People’s decision.”Back to News Archive