THE former right-hand man to the county's top policeman has taken on a new role.

Steve Watson, 34, the youngest superintendent in Lancashire, is now in charge of the day-to day running of Southern Division, covering Chorley, South Ribble and West Lancs.

And he is relishing the chance to take control of the division's officers from Leyland Police Station and says his age is not an issue.

Supt Watson said: "I am certainly the youngest in Lancashire. I don't know what the national average is, but you tend to find 'supers' are in their forties.

"I have made the progress that I have on my ability to do the job and I don't think it is much of an issue. I don't think it occurs to the troops and I probably look older than I am anyway"

Mr Watson has been with the police in Lancashire for 15 years, starting out as a constable in the Pennine Division.

After working his way through the ranks he became staff officer to the chief constable -- first with Chorley-born Pauline Clare, and later with Paul Stephenson.

But now he is back working with officers on the beat, and is direct control over the division's police force.

He said: "I have a really good grounding as a constable on the beat doing the job. I always enjoyed learning the job, and enjoyed the buzz that went with it."

And he says that the main areas he will focus on will be drug-related crime and burglaries.

He said: "I am not one to say that there is nothing you can do about crime -- it is down to society.

"My view is where there are certain factors that are out of your control there is very little that you cannot have an impact on."