Devon and Cornwall's new police and crime commissioner Tony Hogg pledged yesterday to put cutting crime at the top of his priorities following his comprehensive election victory.
The landmark election saw Conservative Mr Hogg sweep into power with a total of 69,419 votes following a run-off with independent Brian Greenslade who ended with 37,243.
The 63-year-old former commander of RNAS Culdrose, in West Cornwall, said he was "honoured" to have been elected to the powerful new position and pledged to "get on with business and work hard".
He stressed that "cutting crime" was the number one priority and pledged to press for the appointment of up to 500 more special constables to help in the battle. He said the "experiences of victims should guide the thoughts" of commissioner. "I will be listening," he added.
"For the first time residents can hold someone directly to account at the ballot box for the way in which their community is policed.
"Whatever your views on the election or turnout, I am committed to serving everyone in Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
"This is an exciting opportunity for everyone to get behind this new role, to get involved to help shape future priorities an d work together to make a real difference.
"I'm here to get on with business and work hard. People will expect me to work closely with the chief constable to get things done and that's exactly what I plan to do by helping people feel more connected and engaged with the police and crime plan.
"People want value for money while maintaining safety and I will do everything within the powers I have been given to ensure the resources are there to do the job and meet priorities
Mr Hogg admitted that he would have "wished for a larger turnout". Just 15.14% cast their vote last Thursday – a record low in peacetime. "I don't feel people had enough information in time about the role," he said.
Mr Hogg, who served in both the Falklands conflict and first Gulf War, said he faced a busy first "100 days in office".
He assumes power on Thursday when the police authority, made up of local councillors and independent members, formally ceases to exist. He will set a budget and will also have to appoint a permanent chief constable and publish a "crime and police plan" by March 2013.
"There is a difficult road ahead and some tough decisions will have to be made," he said. "These are challenging times and I want to support the police through them. We all want effective and efficient policing across Devon and Cornwall and we must have police patrolling our streets."
Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer, who was appointed on a temporary basis following the departure of Stephen Otter in March, congratulated Mr Hogg.
"I believe that we both share the same long-term aspirations of reducing crime, enhancing the safety and well-being of the public and their quality of life," Mr Sawyer said. "I will fully support Tony in his role."