West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson has warned of dire consequences if a projected 40 per cent cut in the force budget goes through over the next five years.
The election of a Conservative Government has meant the role of Police and Crime Commissioner is now secure, as Labour had pledged to scrap elected police chiefs.
But it also means the budget cuts are more likely to continue at the present rate – with the West Midlands force seeing a 40 per cent cut between 2010 and 2020.
His job may also be under threat if it is scrapped in favour of a directly elected "metro" mayor but, having been directly elected once and having government experience, he admitted interest in the role.
The Labour PCC, who was elected last summer following the sudden death of his predecessor Bob Jones, is now setting out his stall in the wake of the General Election – including a campaign for more funding, and more powers.
He said: "I'm going to carry on asking for a fair deal for the West Midlands. If the Home Office funding formula were fair it would mean an extra £43 million coming into the West Midlands police area."
Urban areas, with high deprivation and low council tax base have been hit harder than the leafy home county constabularies who are shielded from Government cuts by raising proportionately more from council tax, due to higher unemployment and higher property values, while having less complex crime issues.
Mr Jamieson said that at the conference of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners held in Birmingham in March, Hertfordshire PCC David Lloyd, had stunned fellow delegates by saying he had trouble spending his budget. "We couldn't believe it," he said.
Mr Jamieson said he wanted to build a cross-party coalition of the region's MPs, and indeed many had already signed up to lobby the Home Office for a better deal.
He said: "Over ten years from 2010 we are going to lose 40 per cent of our budget, and most of that money is spent on staff. The low hanging fruit and back office efficiencies have been dealt with, they're gone."
He has taken on consultants Accenture to carry out a top to bottom review of the police service. Assuming the worst budget projections and reduction in police numbers, he said they had been asked to look at using new technology to make the service more efficient.
"They have got to deliver. There is no plan B," he said. The only alternative is that the service will decline rapidly."
One key power he is bidding for is those similar to Transport for London – to enact and enforce transport bans across the region, rather than on a borough wide basis.
Currently, a difficult traveller has to be banned from each and every area of the West Midlands in turn, meaning seven or more pieces of paperwork.
"In London they can ban someone from the whole Transport For London network, it saves time and money.
"It makes no sense that these powers are not available to the authorities here in the West Midlands. If it's good enough for London then it's good enough for our region too."