THE West Midland’s Mayor and the Police and Crime Commissioner should publicly debate a proposed merging of the two roles, a Dudley councillor has said.

Cllr Tim Crumpton said Mayor Andy Street and Commissioner David Jamieson should come before the council to discuss the controversial proposals and answer hard questions.

The Cradley and Wollescote ward member said the move is a massive step in reforming how policing is governed – and the men at the centre of the plans should debate them publicly.

His call came at the beginning of an eight-week long consultation on the proposals, which would see the role of the police commissioner be abolished and his powers transferred to the mayor.

But opponents claim it would make the mayor too powerful and lessen accountability.

Cllr Crumpton said switching policing functions to the mayor would hinder local councillors, raising issues of crime and disorder at a regional level.

He said: “I have heard nothing that tells me accountability – if we were to look towards this massive step – would be at the level I would want.

“In my ward we have had a meeting with the commissioner which has moved some issues forward. How would we do that with the elected mayor when we would be one of how many hundreds of councillors and when he has a myriad of responsibilities?”

Cllr Crumpton also questioned the proposal's ability to deal with funding cuts to policing which he claimed let criminals avoid arrest.

Calling for a debate between the mayor and police commissioner, he said : “We should be getting the two protagonists, the police commissioner and the mayor, in front of us in the chamber to answer the questions we would really like to hear, the answers to some of the big questions asked by this consultation.”

Cllr Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley's Conservative group, argued the proposals would improve accountability."

He said: “I think it is vital that people join in on this consultation process and to make the person responsible for West Midlands policing fully accountable to this and the other six metropolitan authorities.

“If we get this right, then by being accountable to this council and the other council leaders, we can make the Metro Mayor accountable in a far better manner than we can with the present role, that is the PCC.”