Lincolnshire’s new Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has pledged to be “the voice of the people” throughout the county in his new role.
Alan Hardwick promised to make a north-south divide in Lincolnshire “disappear” after his success in last Thursday’s PCC elections for which turnout across Lincolnshire was about 15 per cent.
The former TV news presenter, standing as an independent candidate, beat rivals David Bowles (Independent), Richard Davies (Conservative) and Paul Gleeson (Labour) after a five-hour wait for the result to be announced in Lincoln Drill Hall last Friday.
Mr Hardwick (63), who is married with three daughters, takes up his £65,000 a year post on Thursday as a replacement for Lincolnshire Police Authority where he worked for the past four years.
“I’m very grateful and very humbled that the people of Lincolnshire have decided that i could speak for them and represent them,” Mr Hardwick said.
“My election proved something that I hoped was true in that the people of the county have said politics and policing just won’t mix.”
Mr Hardwick won after second preference votes were counted, polling 39,221 votes compared to 35,086 for Mr Bowles after the other two candidates were eliminated.
But despite the low turnout in Lincolnshire, Mr Hardwick claimed that he still had a clear mandate to direct the county’s overall policing strategy.
He said: “The turnout in Lincolnshire was by no means the lowest in the country and I have every faith, and continue to have faith, in the people here and their decisions.
“I certainly do feel I have a mandate to be PCC which no member of the police authority had and I’m the voice of the people of Lincolnshire.”
Mr Hardwick has already flexed his muscles by ruling out plans for a new custody suite at Nettleham, claiming it makes no “operational sense” to base such a facility in the village.
He also pledged to visit South Holland “sooner rather than later” to find out what residents think about policing in the area.
“I do have good knowledge of south Lincolnshire but I want to start my communication campaign by engaging with the people of Spalding and get to know them better.
“If people feel there’s a north-south divide in the county, I’m hoping to demonstrate that by talking to them and acting on their concerns and suggestions, we can make it disappear.”
RESULT AFTER SECOND ROUND; Alan Hardwick (Independent): 39,221; David Bowles (Campaign to Stop Politicians Running Policing): 35,086; RESULT AFTER FIRST ROUND: David Bowles: 27,345; Alan Hardwick: 26,272; Richard Davies (Conservative): 19,872; Paul Gleeson (Labour): 10,247.