As he began his new role as Lancashire’s first police commissioner, Clive Grunshaw spoke to crime reporter Vanessa Cornall about the task he faces.

THE man elected to be Lancashire’s first police commissioner has pledged to keep officers at the heart of the communities they serve.

Clive Grunshaw, who was elected to the new post a fortnight ago, said that although he would not directly get involved in operational issues he would give his support to the force’s commitment to keeping bobbies on the beat.

He said: “I know that neighbourhood policing is the bedrock of policing here in Lancashire. I have seen the Constabulary over recent years improve neighbourhood-based policing, extending their reach into communities and regularly meeting with local residents.

“Everyone in Lancashire will continue to have their own dedicated neighbour-hood policing team that includes police community support officers, so that officers will remain where residents want them — right in the heart of our communities.”

Mr Grunshaw, who was elected in a controversial election a fortnight ago in which only 15.5 per cent of those eligible voted, has described his role as that of being a ‘critical friend’.

He said: “As you can imagine, this week has been quite the whirlwind for me.

“The election kick-started what I hope will be the start of a new era for policing in Lancashire.

“There’s been so much made of this role, not all of it positive, and I want to change that.

“I want to offer reassurance to the people of Lancashire that I have accepted this role as one of responsibility and dedication.

“I offer residents the chance to talk to me about the issues that matter to them.

“I see my relationship with the Constabulary as a critical friend, one which can support and challenge in equal measure.

“Lancashire is a top performing force with a reputation for delivering excellent neighbourhood policing with year-on-year crime reductions, and I see my job as ensuring this while bringing the public’s issues to the forefront.”

Mr Grunshaw will serve a four-year term in office and receive an annual salary of £85,000.

He stood as the Labour candidate in the election, and although indicating initially he would be a full-time commissioner, he has now to carry on as a Wyre councillor and Lancashire county councillor as well.

Mr Grunshaw said: “I am the Labour representative and clearly that means I am bringing the party values with me.

“This is part of who I am, however unlike my role as a councillor I do not have to answer to a party whip, meaning I can put the public’s priorities at the forefront.”

Mr Grunshaw will be responsible for setting priorities for the force.

He will also be responsible for hiring the Chief Constable and overseeing the force’s budget.

He said: “There’s clearly a lot of work ahead.

“For me, these first weeks and months are about building strong working relationships with the Constabulary – and of course, Steve Finnigan as Chief Constable and with the people of Lancashire too.

“I was elected to this role to bring the public to the forefront of policing to engage and to listen.

“I want to be a strong voice for Lancashire when it comes to matters of crime and policing.”

Members of the public are now being encouraged to get in touch with the Commissioner via his website