The name may be Green, but the celebrations were all Conservative blue as Norfolk’s new police and crime commissioner was announced last night.
The election of former Canadian diplomat Lorne Green was confirmed after several hours of counting co-ordinated from the Corn Exchange in King’s Lynn.
He said afterwards: “I’m delighted I now have the opportunity to improve the quality of life and make people feel safer in this county.”
Mr Green paid tribute to his predecessor, independent Stephen Bett, who was eliminated in the first round of voting, for his work on the former police authority and as commissioner.
But one of his key campaign messages was that the county had slipped from first to 14th in the list of safest counties.
And he said his first act as commissioner would be to give more than £50,000 to chief constable Simon Bailey to recruit new officers, instead of having a deputy commissioner, as Mr Bett did.
He said: “I don’t see a necessity for one, when that money can be used for frontline operations.”
He also pledged to reach out to communities across the county and be accessible to people, whoever they voted for.
He said: “I see myself as having two jobs. That’s not to be the best police officer in this county, but to bring the people and police closer together and to give each and every one of you, every man, woman and child, the opportunity to influence policing priorities wherever you live.”
Mr Green defeated Labour’s Chris Jones in a run-off in which second preference votes were counted, after no candidate achieved an absolute majority in the first round.
Mr Jones benefited from his strong showing in Norwich, where he topped the poll and his party made gains in to increase its majority on the city council.
He said: “I think the result here in Norfolk and the result across the country shows that the Labour Party has a message that is resonating with people in all areas and in all communities.
“It’s a message about social justice, about equality, about fairness and about rebuilding communities. That’s a message we’re going to carry on taking out to the people of Norfolk. We’re not going to give up.”
But the main casualty of the initial count was Mr Bett, who was beaten into fourth place, behind UKIP candidate David Moreland.
He said: “I’m very disappointed. I started from nothing, built it to where it is the today, the office and the job.
“I would like to have continued, but politics is politics.”
And he urged his successor to take a strategic role, rather than trying to do the chief constable’s job.
He added: “If you listen to the lead-up to this count, a lot of what was said, especially by the Tory candidate, was that he would be the new chief constable.”
Meanwhile, Mr Moreland, a former Metropolitan Police detective, took to social media to describe the election of Mr Green as “total and utter madness.”
He said he felt sad for the county and the police, urging voters not to complain “when it all goes pearshaped with the old Canadian Tory boy running the show.”
Liberal Democrat Jacqueline Howe finished fifth, ahead of the Green Party’s Martin Schmierer.
Across Norfolk as a whole, turnout was up more than nine percentage points on the inaugural police commissioner election in November 2012, at 23.84 per cent.
The highest district figures were in Norwich and Yarmouth, where the poll coincided with council elections.
The total votes cast were as follows:
First round: Stephen Bett (Independent) 25,527 votes, eliminated; Lorne Green (Conservative) 42,928, continuing; Jacqueline Howe (Liberal Democrat) 12,838, eliminated; Chris Jones (Labour) 37,141, continuing; David Moreland (UKIP) 27,030, eliminated; Martin Schmierer (Green) 9,187, eliminated.
Second round: Green 60,061, Jones 50,287.