LANCASHIRE'S new police and crime commissioner has pledged to double the size of the force's rural crime task force and look at reopening station front desks.

Tory Andrew Snowden,elected on May 6, said he also wanted to beef up its digital crime unit.

He said he had already discussed the issues with new chief constable Chris Rowley.

In an interview with the Lancashire Telegraph Mr Snowden said: "I have already had a first meeting with the chief constable and we’ve discussed plans for looking at investing in increasing the numbers of officers in the rural task force that has been set up.

“It’s a great little task force but it is only around 20 officers so I think we need to look to significantly increase the size of that over the coming years and we will have the ability to use the uplift in police officers that we have to be able to hopefully do that.

"“Ideally I’d like to double it.”

“I’ll also be looking at front desks in place like Clitheroe which I have already spoken to the chief constable about the importance of having that connection with rural communities to be able to report crimes.”

Tackled on the campaigns to reopen other front desks including Darwen, Waterfoot, Colne and Barnoldswick, Mr Snowden said: "We’ll be looking at what will make operational policing most effective in those areas in which front desks can most effectively support operational policing and where we can do more in police stations as well around what services are provided out of different police stations, how many officers are actually based there and what they are doing there.

"“Distinct individual towns like Darwen which have lost a front desk will be included in the review.

“It’s too early obviously to be able to promise on individual police stations."

Mr Snowden said he would 'work constructively' with government to get the county more cash and officers.

He also spoke about new threats: "Digital crime is arguably the biggest threat to the average persons’s safety and we’ll need to invest extra funding in tackling digital crime not just police numbers.It’s about real specialist teams leading the charge in keeping Lancashire safe digitally as well as physically.”

On other priorities, he said: “Anti-social behaviour is a massive issue that has come out of the campaign trail. It was the number one thing that I raised with the chief constable. We are already discussing some initial ideas and things we can do to tackle antisocial behaviour and support local communities.

“We’ll be working on some ideas in the background as part of the development of my Police and Crime Plan which I hope to have completed by the start of Autumn this year.

"The task seems bigger than I expected. Having a new chief constable to go with my appointment is a help definitely because when I'm asking questions and holding to account I am not doing it against his long-standing work. He’s coming in with a fresh pair of eyes as well.

"Lancashire is an excellent police force.

" We’re surrounded by areas where criminals do try to encroach into Lancashire as a county so we'll be working with police forces that are around us, working constructively with national government and the serious organised crime agency to protect our borders and play our part in dismantling county lines drugs gangs.”