A WAR of words has broken out between the Meriden MP and the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).
Conservative MP Saqib Bhatti has called for the Labour PCC, Simon Foster, to be scrapped and powers handed to the Conservative Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street.
This came following a debate in the House of Commons on knife crime in the region lead by Stourbridge MP Suzanne Webb.
During the debate Mr Bhatti referred to ONS data which suggests burglaries are higher in areas run by Labour PCCs and he asked the Minister for Crime, Policing and Fire, Chris Philp, if he thought it was time to scrap the West Midlands PCC.
The Minister also urged Mr Foster to “think again” at his plans to close police stations across the West Midlands including Solihull station.
Following the debate, Mr Bhatti said: “I have long campaigned against the proposed closure of Solihull Police Station by Labour’s PCC.
“The Labour PCC is clearly more concerned with his mayoral bid than protecting my constituents and residents across the West Midlands.
“With a record of failure, I can see why nobody from Labour came to the debate to defend his record.
“One thing is clear, the PCC powers need to be handed to the Mayor of the West Midlands, and the Labour PCC position scrapped.”
Hitting back at the claims Mr Foster, who was elected in 2021, pointed out ‘poor decision making’ and cuts to funding as reasons to rising crime.
Mr Foster said: “The reckless financial cuts imposed on West Midlands Police, that resulted in the loss of 25% of our police officers, were all supported by, voted for and implemented by Mr Bhatti’s own party.
“His own government’s ill advised, misconceived and poor decision making have undoubtedly contributed to a rise in crime and have made his own constituents and the people of the West Midlands less safe and secure.
“Mr Bhatti own party have stood for election to the role of PCC four times and on each and every occasion, they have been roundly defeated.
“That is because his party are not trusted with policing and crime by the people of the West Midlands. The sooner his party’s chaotic and failing government leaves office the better.
“Mr Bhatti’s own party and its West Midlands Mayor intend to abolish your democratic right to vote; end direct accountability to you; remove your choice as to who represents you; and transfer power from you, the people, to the Mayor.
“Make no mistake, this is not an evolution or a merger. It is profoundly undemocratic, it is deeply divisive, and it is nothing more than a proposed hostile takeover.”