INDEPENDENT candidate Alan Hardwick has been elected Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Lincolnshire.
Mr Hardwick, a former journalist, presenter and PR consultant, campaigned on the promise he would be ‘the antidote to bureaucracy’.
He has also pledged to press the Government to bring back the rural policing grant in the county, saying it was worth £1.8 million per year, or 42 police officers.
Mr Hardwick was elected last Friday after two rounds of counting.
Labour’s Paul Gleeson and Conservative Richard Davies were both eliminated in the first count with 12.2 per cent and 23.7 per cent of the votes respectively.
At this point, Mr Hardwick had 31.4 per cent of the votes, just behind fellow independent candidate David Bowles on 32.7 per cent.
In the second round, the combined votes of the two eliminated candidates (30,219) were counted again, with their second preference votes added to the remaining candidates’ totals.
Mr Hardwick finally got 39,221 votes (52.8 per cent), while Mr Bowles lost out with 35,086 (47.2).
After the count, Mr Bowles said that while he was disappointed not to win, he would like to offer congratulations to his opponent.
“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, said Mr Bowles. “ The Conservatives secured only 19,000 votes showing just how strongly our campaign theme ‘Stop Politicians Running Policing’ was supported.”
He added: “Good luck to Alan. Many have called this role a poisoned chalice as cuts imposed by central Government are implemented frustrating attempts to improve policing. He will need our support and he will get mine.”
The Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Police, Neil Rhodes, has welcomed Mr Hardwick into the job.
“He is committed to maintaining a strong front line of uniformed police officers on our streets and we share these objectives wholeheartedly,” said Mr Rhodes.
“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.”
The £60,000-a-year role will see Mr Hardwick set policing priorities for the Force, control budgets and hire and fire the chief constable.
Turn-out was low in the county, as it was elsewhere in the country, with just 15 per cent of people turning out to cast their vote. We spoke to readers who didn’t vote.
Melanie Kowal said: “I stayed home. I had no information about the job role or the candidates so why would I vote for someone I know nothing about?”
Nicky Hodgson added: “I voted by post but had to find out all the info on the candidates via the web - this information should have been put through everyone’s doors so they could consider all the candidates. I thought it was very poorly done.”