High Court challenge won by West Midlands crime commissioner

The West Midlands police and crime commissioner (PCC) has won a High Court challenge against plans to transfer the oversight of the police force to the Mayor’s office.

Simon Foster applied for the review to challenge the decision of Home Secretary James Cleverly, who approved of the takeover on December 6.

Foster’s role would have merged with the region’s mayor in time for May’s local elections.

In his 23-page written ruling, the judge Mr Justice Swift said: “The home secretary did not, when consulting, provide sufficient information to permit an intelligent and informed response.”

He believes there should have been information on the proposed impact on “economic, social and environmental well-being”, but what featured, “falls well short of this mark”.

Foster said in a statement: “I am pleased that the Mayor’s cynical, divisive, unnecessary and undemocratic, attempted hostile takeover of PCC powers has been defeated.

“I trust that we can now all concentrate on what matters most to the people of the West Midlands, which is ensuring that we all work together in partnership, to prevent, tackle and reduce crime.”

The judge said a claim the consolidation of powers has the potential to offer “a more joined-up approach to preventing crime was left entirely unexplained”.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “I am naturally very disappointed in the ruling as I firmly believe that a change in governance is required to help tackle the rates of crime across the West Midlands.

“With crime having doubled and West Midlands Police in special measures, I was not prepared to stand by anymore and so followed the process as set out by the Home Office to merge the PCC role with the Mayoral role at May’s elections. I have always believed that a merged role – as is the case in Manchester, London, and West Yorkshire – is best for the West Midlands.

“The Home Office must be the ones to comment on their process, my only interest is in doing what it takes to tackle crime and help people in the West Midlands feel safe again.”

After another consultation, PCC functions will be transferred in South Yorkshire to its Mayor. It joins London, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire as areas with no PCC.

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