Lancashire Police Authority and Lancashire Constabulary have officially welcomed the County's first-ever Police and Crime Commissioner.
As we reported earlier, Clive Grunshaw was elected to be the PCC for Lancashire following the election yesterday. The PCC will officially replace Lancashire Police Authority on 22nd November, becoming accountable for how crime is tackled in the area.
The change has not, we have to report, stirred many to exercise their democratic right locally. By 6.00pm the Voting Booths at St Thomas Church Hall in the Lancaster City Centre had see fewer than 100 people pass through the door. Overall the ballot had an exceptionally low turnout of just 15.5%, with 172,710 people voting across the county. Figures on spoilt ballots are not available as yet.
None of the four candidates polled more than 50 per cent of the vote. Labour candidate Clive Grunshaw, who received 66,017 votes, and Conservative Tim Ashton, 58,428, went through to the final. The second choices of people who voted for eliminated candidates, Afzal Anwar (Lib Dem) 18,396, and Rob Drobny (UKIP) 25,228, were distributed to the top two contenders and recounted.
Despite concerns at voter apathy for the new post, intended by government accountability to the police but raising concerns over politicization, the deed is done: now we'll have to see if it works. Lancashire Police Authority Chairman, Bruce Jassi officially welcomed Clive Grunshaw and congratulated him on his successful election to Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire.
"I wish him well in the new role and hope he can continue cutting crime; ensuring the County is a safer place," he commented.
"Lancashire Police Authority has enjoyed a healthy working relationship with the Constabulary. We have been a critical friend; supporting the Constabulary through the successes and challenges it has faced.
"I look forward to seeing this relationship continue to develop under the direction of the Commissioner and the Police and Crime Panel.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who voted in this election. I would also like to thank my fellow Police Authority members and staff for their support and dedication through this transition and wish them all the best for the future."
Chief Constable of Lancashire Constabulary, Steve Finnigan, congratulated Clive Grunshaw on his election as the first Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire.
He said: “The election of PCCs is undoubtedly a huge change for the police service but I am confident that here in Lancashire, Clive Grunshaw and I will be able to build a professional and effective working relationship that will help us to collectively ensure that the county remains a safe place in which to live, work and visit.
"I'd also like to pay tribute to the work of the Police Authority, which has left a strong legacy in place for the Commissioner to now progress."
Lancashire Constabulary is the 10th biggest force in England and Wales and was set up in 1839. It serves approximately 1.5m people across the county. The Chief Constable is Steve Finnigan who was honoured with a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in June 2010.