CHESHIRE’S first police and crime commissioner begins his new role today.
Conservative John Dwyer defeated Labour candidate John Stockton in the second count of last week’s election by 48,591 votes to 37,350.
Less than 15 per cent of voters turned out across the county but Mr Dwyer – who will be paid an annual salary of £75,000 – has promised to deliver on his pledge to make Cheshire a safer place to live.
He said: “I am delighted and honoured to have been elected by the people of Cheshire but the hard work starts here to deliver my manifesto pledges.
“This is an exciting and challenging new role which I see as bringing a new dynamic to policing with myself as a single focus point of accountability.
“I will ultimately be held to account by the public, not just those who voted for me, but all of those who are served by the constabulary.”
Former assistant chief constable Mr Dwyer plans to increase the number of special constables to 1,000 and adopt a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to yobbish behaviour.
“My election campaign was based on a series of commitments to the people of Cheshire and my work will be centred on delivering those pledges,” he said.
“Cheshire is already a fantastic area and a safe place to live. But we must not rest on our laurels. Success lies in freeing police officers to do what they do best – policing.”
Police and crime commissioners are replacing police authorities and outgoing Cheshire Police Authority chairman Margaret Ollerenshaw has wished Mr Dwyer well in his new role.
She said: “The commissioner will face many challenges, especially at the current time when savings have to be made to meet government spending cuts.
“The authority spent 17 years monitoring police performance, reflecting the views of the public and working closely with the constabulary to ensure the people of Cheshire have the type of policing they expect and deserve.
“In the past year we have focused on making sure everything is in place for that to continue.”
Cheshire Police chief constable David Whatton also said he is looking forward to working with Mr Dwyer.
He said: “I am confident that he wants to make Cheshire safe and to make people feel safe by dealing robustly with crime and anti-social behaviour.
“The wider role of the police and crime commissioner will bring all organisations and communities together to make a positive difference to people's lives.”
See full story in the Chester Leader