Ellie Ames 02 November 2023

Street calls for PCC powers

Street calls for PCC powers image
Image: wmca.org.uk

West Midlands mayor Andy Street has formally asked the Government to transfer police and crime commissioner (PCC) powers to the mayoralty.

In a letter posted on X (formerly Twitter), Mr Street said the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) had ‘commenced preparatory work’ with officials from the Home Office, the office of the PCC, and West Midlands Police ‘in anticipation of a transfer’.

He asked the Home Secretary to transfer PCC powers and functions ahead of next May’s elections, when both his and the current PCC’s terms end.

West Midlands PCC Simon Foster said: ‘I deeply disagree with the mayor’s hostile takeover, because firstly, he is abolishing people’s right to vote, so that he can appoint one of his friends to the role instead.

'Secondly, preventing, tackling and reducing crime will not be his top priority, and thirdly, this is a cynical and divisive power grab, that is in no one’s interests save that of the mayor.’

Mr Foster, a Labour politician, said the Conservatives had been defeated four times in elections for the role of PCC and that ‘the mayor is attempting to achieve through the backdoor what his party have been incapable of achieving through the ballot box’.

The Levelling Up and Regeneration Act, which received Royal Assent last week, allows the Government to instigate transfer of PCC powers to combined authority mayors.

Mr Street said a mayoral model could best hold West Midlands Police to account.

He said the new synergy could include ‘building crime prevention considerations into allocation of WMCA regeneration funding, enabling use to design out crime and anti-social behaviour on our high streets, or developing innovative skills offers to rehabilitate and tackle the root cause of crime’.

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