LANCASHIRE’S new Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw promised to make visiting the East of the county a top priority minutes after being chosen in an election where less than a sixth of people voted.
He said he had a big task take on for everyone in the area despite the disappointing 15.5 per cent turnout in Thursday’s poll.
Fleetwood county councillor Mr Grunshaw, who will earn £85,000 a year, told the Lancashire Telegraph: “This is not a desk job. I shall be getting out and about the county engaging with people.
“I shall be coming to Blackburn, Burnley, Nelson, Rawtenstall and the rest of East Lancashire soon. This not about Preston it is about everybody across the whole of the county.
“My late father Dave was born in Blackburn and brought up Darwen so I know East Lancashire well.”
His deputy designate, Blackburn community leader and Labour politician, Ibrahim Masters, said: “I shall be standing beside him to make sure he lives up to his word and does not forget our area.”
Mr Grunshaw won the final vote off by 79,790 votes to Tory Tim Ashton’s 73,262, having failed to secure a clear 50 per cent majority on first preference ballots.
The other two candidates - Nelson Liberal Democrat Afzal Anwar and UKIP’s Robert Drobny - were eliminated after the first count.
Mr Grunshaw, who takes up his post on November 21, will then set a budget after the government announces its cash settlement for Lancashire Constabulary next month.
He will decide how much the county force adds to council tax bills to finance itself, and produce a crime and policing plan setting out his priorities. He will also have powers to hire and fire the chief constable.
Mr Grunshaw said: “We have seen major budget cuts already and we do not know what the government will allow us to spend in future. We have seen cuts in officers numbers and I can give no assurances about jobs.
“It is going to be a difficult job but my number one priority is the safety and security of the people of Lancashire. I will focus on making this role a successful one, ensuring the public gets the best possible service from Lancashire Constabulary and protecting the frontline."
Lancashire Chief Constable Steve Finnigan said: “My relationship with Clive is going to be a new one. I know Clive well from his two spells on the county police authority. We will work closely together but it will not be a cosy relationship. We have different roles.”
Blackburn Tory group leader Michael Lee said: “I am disappointed Tim Ashton did not win. The government made a mess of the election process and with the low turn-out I do not think Mr Grunshaw has a proper mandate.”
Pendle Liberal Democrat Lord Greaves said: “It was a disappointing but predictable turn out. The election was at the wrong time and badly-handled. We will support the new commissioner fully provided we think he is doing the right things.”
Senior Blackburn councillor Maureen Bateson said: “It was a disappointing but not surprising turn out. I am delighted Clive won and believe he can do a good job.”