LANCASHIRE police and crime commissioner Clive Grunshaw’s £122,203-a-year chief executive unexpectedly quit her post yesterday.

Miranda Carruthers-Watt has decided to take voluntary redundancy on July 31, after being off sick since May 27.

Mr Grunshaw has announced he will review his support arrangements which involve a deputy PCC, three assistant PCCs and 12 other staff.

Ann Pennell, an officer in Lancashire County Council’s children and young person’s department, will fill the statutory role from August 1 on an interim basis, rather than Ms Carruthers-Watt’s deputy Christine Durber.

Pendle Tory MP Andrew Stephenson said: “I am shocked and surprised. It leaves many unanswered questions and I will be contacting Mr Grunshaw.”

Former Tory county councillor and author of the ‘Top of the Cops’ website Sam Chapman said: “I am surprised. I do not see how you can make redundant the chief executive, a role required by law, and then review the support structure. It is the wrong way round and seems nonsense.”

Ms Carruthers-Watt, who took on the role after Mr Grunshaw’s election in November 2012, is not expected to return to work.

Mr Grunshaw said the review would look at the benefits of a more collaborative approach within Lancashire.

He said: “The role of the police and crime commissioner is still a relatively new one but we've learnt a lot since it was established in 2012 and can now begin to shape a more efficient and effective support structure.

“Meanwhile I'd like to say how grateful I am for the contribution Miranda has made in supporting me and the team.”

Ms Carruthers-Watt said: “It has been a privilege to be the first chief executive for the police and crime Commissioner. It has been our intention for some time to work more closely with the county council.”