The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner has been accused of deliberately targeting cuts at Solihull and Sutton Coldfield because they have Conservative MPs.
But furious Labour MPs insisted the Government was to blame for plans to sell off 24 police stations across the region.
They include two stations which are currently open to the public - in Solihull and Sutton Coldfield.
Andrew Mitchell, Conservative MP for Sutton Coldfield, said David Jamieson, the region's Labour Police and Crime Commssioner, was responsible. He added: “There is a strong feeling that a party political point is being made here in identifying Solihull and Sutton Coldfield as the two key targets that lose their major police facility.”
Mr Jamieson is a Labour politician and a former MP. He was elected as Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for the West Midlands in 2014.
PCCs were created by the Conservative government to make police forces more accountable to the people they serve. Elections are often contested by professional politicians, and Conservative candidates won the votes to become PCCs for Staffordshire, West Mercia and Warwickshire forces.
Perhaps as a result, the debate over funding for West Midlands Police has become highly politicised, and a House of Commons debate about the closures was dominated by a row over whether the Government or Mr Jamieson was responsible for the state of West Midlands Police’s finances.
The Government grant for the West Midlands has been frozen at £444.1 million - the same figure it received last year. This is effectively a cut, when inflation is taken into account.
But total funding for West Midlands Police will go up by £9.5 million this year, because the Government allowed Mr Jamieson to impose an inflation-busting £12-a-year increase on the precept added to council tax bills to help fund policing.
At the same time, Mr Jamieson claims the force faces unavoidable cost increases of £22 million. For example, police officers are to get a 2% rise but forces have to find the money to pay for this.
Some Labour MPs argue that because the force isn’t getting this money, its funding has effectively been cut.
Conservatives point out that the force has increased its budget for non-frontline staff by £10 million.
They also argue that Mr Jamieson should spend more of the force’s reserves, which currently stand at about £106 million.
Police Minister Nick Hurd told MPs that West Midlands Police’s reserves had increased by £26.9 million since 2011.
Solihull MP Julian Knight, a Conservative, insisted Mr Jamieson must take the blame for station closures.
He said: “I strongly believe that for local politicians to be held accountable, the devolution of power must be accompanied by the devolution of responsibility, including financial responsibility.
“The public elect representatives to take decisions, not simply to shift blame and demand more money from someone else.”
But Edgbaston MP Preet Kaur Gill, a Labour MP, said: “Despite efforts to blame the chief constable and the police and crime commissioner for making difficult decisions, the cuts have been inflicted on our constituents clearly and unambiguously as a result of the Conservative Government’s ideological austerity programme.
“As a result, the chief constable has proposed to release 24 buildings, which will save £5 million a year: enough to protect the jobs of 100 police officers.”
The stations and buildings being sold are:
Sutton Coldfield - to be replaced with public contact office
Solihull - to be replaced with public contact office