Independent candidate Alan Hardwick has been welcomed as the new police and crime commissioner for Lincolnshire.
Alan Hardwick narrowly beat independent rival David Bowles to the £65,000 per year role in Thursday’s election, which was announced late on Friday evening.
Despite hard-fought campaigns the turnout across East Lindsey was just 17.19 per cent.
The result in the second round of voting saw 39,221 votes go to Alan Hardwick and 35,086 to David Bowles, who stood for the Campaign to Stop Politicians Running Policing.
Conservative Richard Davies was third and Labour’s Paul Gleeson fourth - with the two party candidates dropping out of the race after the first round.
Lincolnshire Police’s Chief Constable Neil Rhodes said the force would be backing their new commissioner wholeheartedly.
“He (Alan Hardwick) is committed to maintaining a strong front line of uniformed police officers on our streets and we share these objectives wholeheartedly,” said Mr Rhodes.
“Lincolnshire Police is a force that is currently performing strongly with crime well down and one of the best anti-social behaviour reductions in the country. Our real challenge is finance.
“So there is much work to do. Policing in Lincolnshire is delivered already at the lowest cost per head of population in the country and we face further cuts. My priority is to work with the commissioner to secure the best financial package to stabilise officer numbers on the streets of the county.
“When the commissioner steps through the front door on his first day he can look forward to a real welcome and full cooperation from the chief officers of the force.
“Backed by the electoral mandate, I know we will be held firmly to account for performance and service delivery and that he will be both challenging and intrusive. We believe that we can also look forward to support in equal measure.”
Mr Rhodes said that the new PCC role is much wider than that of the Police Authority it replaces. “He will be the champion for victims and witnesses in the Criminal Justice System and in particular working with other elected members in the community safety and partnership world to get the most out of it for this county – and we welcome that,” he said.
“So, early days, but the PCC can expect a really positive attitude from the chief officers of Lincolnshire Police.”
David Bowles, the independent candidate who lost out to Alan Hardwick, spoke of his ‘great disappointment’ not to have won.
“Not only did we win the first preference vote but we also won some key arguments,” he said.
“With Alan Hardwick, between us over 53,000 voters did not want the main political contender in Lincolnshire, in this case the Conservatives, to run the police.
“What has been a very telling feature is the degree to which people are disillusioned with the tired old party politics. Not only did they not want it for the police they just do not want it.
“So good luck to Alan. Many have called this role a poison chalice as cuts imposed by central government are implemented frustrating attempts to improve policing. He will need our support and he will get mine. This will not be an easy job to do at the best of times and this is not the best of times.”