LANCASHIRE'S new top cop has promised to beef up rural neighbourhood policing and look again at the closure of police station front desks.

Chris Rowley made the pledge to councillors as they confirmed him as chief constable of the county force.

The former Humberside deputy was quizzed by members of the Police and Crime Panel for Lancashire before his appointment to succeed Andy Rhodes in April was made official.

Many Lancashire police stations have lost their front desks including Darwen, Clitheroe, Longridge, Waterfoot, Colne and Barnoldswick.

Pendle Council deputy leader Cllr David Whipp asked Mr Rowley: "Please tell us how you would maintain continued improvements to neighbourhood policing and within rural communities?"

Rowley: "What the uplift in officer numbers presents is the opportunity to put more officers into neighbourhood policing.

"I feel sure that I can redirect neighbourhood policing officers into your communities."

Cllr Simon Hore then asked: "I represent Ribble Valley and we have no front desks at all.

"It's good to hear you are going to look to expand the amount of police in rural areas but do you envisage the need to replace some of the front desks that were cut?"

Mr Rowley replied: "I haven't seen any of the documentation about previous cuts in front desks but I'll give you an absolute assurance that I will look at that. I give no assurance that I can reopen stations etcetera but I will have a look at it."

Blackburn with Darwen Council leader Cllr Mohammed Khan asked: "What difference would you make to the public perception of policing and how would you lead this process?"

Mr Rowley replied: "I think perception is making yourself accessible. In Humberside I have my own tactical advisory group from Black Lives Matter, local Imams, farmers, people from the deaf community, people from the blind community, from all different communities.

"We listened to the communities, how they wanted to be policed.

"We now have people coming in to culturally educate our officers. I can assure you for the police officers it's an eye-opener because it's not sending to training school to be taught diversity.

"That's gone down really really well with those communities because for the first time they've got a real 'in' into influencing the way we police. We need to give them a voice."

Lancashire's Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said:"Chris is an exceptional candidate."