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West Midlands Mayor will take over police and fire service

Policing Minister determined to see proposals go ahead by 2020
Published - 06/06/2018 By - Sophie Garrod - Police Oracle

The Mayor of the West Midlands will assume responsibility for police and fire services in his region by 2020, the government says.

Conservative candidate and former John Lewis boss Andy Street, who was elected in May last year, will replace Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson if proposals are successful.

Walsall North MP Eddie Hughes asked the government about the ongoing devolution talks with the West Midlands Mayor.

Policing Minister Nick Hurd said: “I speak regularly to Andy Street. The government is determined to honour the second devolution deal, including proposals to help to bring police and fire services under the mayor, as we have done in London and Manchester.

“We are absolutely committed to working with both Andy Street and the police and crime commissioner to make sure that happens by 2020.”

But the plan was criticised by Birmingham MP Steve McCabe who said the government previously claimed it was essential to have a PCC to hold police forces to account.

“I thought we elected the police and crime commissioner. I seem to recall current the PM arguing elected police and crime commissioners were crucial for police accountability.

“Now they’re going to tack it onto a mayoral job created for an entirely different purpose.”

A spokesman from the office of the police and crime commissioner told Police Oracle “nothing had been set in stone” and it is “far more likely” he will govern just the fire service initally with police take-over proposals in the very early stages.

"We are working with the Home Office, Mayor and local council leaders to get the best possible system of governance, in the interest of the people of the West Midlands. It is important that any changes that may take place protect the independence of the police and improve outcomes for people,” they added.

The next mayoral elections are also due to take place in 2020, which means there is no guarantee the mayor will be Mr Street.

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