THE MERIDEN MP has come out in full support of plans for powers to transfer from the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) to the West Midlands Mayor.
Saqib Bhatti has shared his reply on the public consultation launched by the Home Office on the structure of police governance in the West Midlands.
In his response the Conservative MP said: “I am writing to fully support the merger of the roles of the West Midlands Mayor and PCC.
“I firmly believe that the Mayoral model is best placed to succeed in holding West Midlands Police to account, and ultimately to make citizens’ lives safer.
“It would enable a more joined-up approach as crime prevention could be considered when allocating regeneration funding, enabling the combined role to ‘design out’ crime and Anti Social Behaviour on our high streets, and innovative skills programmes to rehabilitate offenders and tackle the root causes of crime could be developed.
“It would also allow a renewed, relentless focus on making our public transport network safer, with the Safer Travel Team already based at the West Midlands Combined Authority HQ.”
The consultation was launched after the region’s Conservative Mayor, Andy Street, wrote to the Home Secretary in November calling for a transfer of powers from the PCC’s, Simon Foster, office to his because ‘crime in this region has more than doubled’ in the past eight years and he ‘simply cannot allow it any longer’.
This sparked outrage in the Labour PCC who has called the move a ‘hostile takeover’ and threatened a judicial review against the Mayor claiming he may have acted unlawfully.
If plans do get the green light powers Mr Street will take over the reigns in May.
Mr Foster said: “The Mayor’s decision to attempt a hostile takeover of the PCC powers has been exposed for what it is – a cynical, divisive and illegal power grab.
“This is a farce and it smacks of desperation. The Mayor and Home Secretary are trying to shore up an amateurish, incompetent and illegal decision after the event.
“I urge members of the public to send a clear message to both of them: enough is enough, we will not be treated with contempt and we will not be taken for fools.”
The deadline fore responses is January 31.