Controversial plans to transfer the powers for policing to the mayor have been rejected today (Friday) - despite a public consultation showing support for the proposals.

The plans, which were first put forward as part of the West Midlands' second devolution deal, would have seen the mayor assume the powers of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) in time for the 2020 mayoral elections.

However they were today rejected by a majority vote of nine to five, with several members expressing their concerns that the consultation process had been politicised and therefore should not be binding.

In Greater Manchester and London the mayor oversees police. However, the vote today means that the West Midlands will continue to have a separate Police and Crime Commissioner.

'Strong message': West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson
 

During a tense meeting, current PCC David Jamieson expressed his concern at the proposals, saying that a controversial Twitter exchange between mayor Andy Street and fellow Conservative members back in January 'spreads considerable concern' about the legitimacy of the consultation.

And this was a point supported by Birmingham leader Ian Ward, who said that leaflets handed out in Sutton Coldfield by the mayor's team regarding the transfer had 'politicised' the issue, therefore making the consultation illegitimate.

As such Cllr George Duggins, leader of Coventry Council, said it was time for the plans to be scrapped.

"We met at a mayoral leaders meeting on March 8, and it became very clear what the likely outcome of this meeting was going to be," he said.

"Birmingham had already taken the decision, and it's a decision that they won't change because they're not having any elections, so the make up of the council will be the same. And it's also a decision backed by my own council.

Mayor Andy Street
 

"So that means that there are two local authorities that will vote against the proposals, and that means that, as far as I can see, it's about as dead as Theresa May's deal.

"The challenges for the police at the moment are titanic challenges, and on a variety of levels. And I do not believe that these distractions are helping with that."

Last week it was revealed that the proposals had been broadly backed by the public,  with 58 per cent of of the 6,059 stage-one respondents agreed with the principle of the transfer, and just 37 per cent disagreeing.

The consultation was embroiled in controversy though, after it emerged that messages sent from the mayor's Twitter account encouraged members of the Conservative Party to 'do anything you can to get us three, four, five or more responses'.

The WMCA headquarters in Summer Lane, Birmingham.
 

This message prompted a response from Solihull councillor Bob Grinsell, who stated that he had 'responded three times, using three different names and emails'.

The mayor was cleared of any wrongdoing by an independent investigation instigated by the WMCA, which found that it was an aide of the mayor who posted the message.

However doubts remained over the legitimacy of the consultation, leading to several constituent members voting down the proposals today.

Members did not rule out the possibility of the proposals being discussed again at a later date, though.