West Midlands Mayor to get police oversight powers

Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street.

The West Midlands Mayor’s role will include the Police and Crime Commissioner’s powers after Home Secretary granted Andy Street’s request.

Street, who faces a difficult election next May to stay in the role for a third term, had demanded the extra responsibilities for his office.

Home Secretary James Cleverly has now agreed, with the changes taking place after next May’s mayoral election.

Mayors in Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and London already have oversight of the police.

West Midlands Police was put into special measures last month by His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary (HMIC).

In a tweet, Street said: “My request for the Mayor to take on Police & Crime Commissioner powers from May has been agreed by the Home Secretary tonight. Crime has doubled in 8 years and our force is now in special measures.

“We cannot go on like this. I’ll set out my plan of action in due course.”

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster, who was elected in 2021, had written to James Cleverly last month to object to “the Mayor’s hostile takeover”.

At the time, he wrote: “There is no local democratic support for this cynical and divisive power grab. The Mayor is attempting to achieve through the backdoor, what his Party have been incapable of achieving through the ballot box.”

The West Midlands mayoral election will take place on May 2, which is expected to be a tight battle between Street and Labour’s Richard Parker.

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