West Mercia Police has won a stay of execution after the Home Secretary officially scrapped plans to force it to merge within a year.
John Reid said he wanted to talk to opponents of the merger and hear their concerns.
Dr Reid had been due to present an order before Parliament before July 25, forcing West Mercia to merge with neighbouring forces.
It would have meant a new regional force, covering five million people, was created on April 1 next year.
But yesterday he told the Commons he was putting the merger plans on the back burner.
The decision means no new police service is likely to be operating in the West Midlands before 2008.
But Birmingham MP Gisela Stuart (Lab Edgbaston) reminded Dr Reid that some forces did want the mergers to go ahead.
She said: "The West Midlands force is very much behind it and they say the worst thing we could do is consult for too long and make no decision."
Dr Reid told the House of Commons he continued to believe change was needed.
"I'm pretty convinced that we will end up in the destination we set out for."
He said he still believed mergers were "the right way to improve protective police services".
But he added: "I am keen to continue the discussion and dialogue we have begun with police forces and police authorities on the best way to get to that destination.
"Accordingly, I do not propose to lay any orders for enforced police mergers before the summer recess."
Dr Reid said he was responding "to the will of the House, of the police authorities and many outside this House" to address anxieties about the move.
Sir Patrick Cormack (Con Staffordshire South) said: "This is the biggest change to the police force for 50 years, and possible for a century." A merged force would include Staffordshire Police, Warwickshire Police, West Mercia Police and West Midlands Police.
The mergers follow a detailed report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, which warned forces with fewer than 4,000 officers, such as West Mercia, Staffordshire and Warwickshire, were not equipped to fight sophisticated modern crime.
The reforms could lead to the current 43 forces being cut to 17.
West Mercia argues it could be upgraded to become a "strategic" force in its own right, but the three neighbouring forces all support a merger.