CONSERVATIVE candidate Richard Rhodes said he was ‘honoured’ to have been elected by the people of Cumbria as their first Police and Crime Commissioner.

The retired Headteacher was up against Labour’s Patrick Leonard in the second round of the ballot after they both came top out of the four candidates.

In the first round Mr Rhodes scored highest with 18,080 votes and Mr Leonard, who gained 15,301, just pipped Independent candidate Mary Robinson who got 15,245 votes.

Liberal Democrat candidate Pru Jupe came fourth with 13,625 votes, but she said she was happy that she had done so well in South Lakeland.

In the final count Mr Rhodes beat his Labour counterpart by 25,408 votes to 20,317.

In his victory speech he thanked all those who had helped him win the role.
He said: “The people of Cumbria have bequeathed upon me a huge honour which I gladly accept, and I aspire to live up to their full expectations.

“I would like to thank the number of people I have had working on my team and particularly the amount of young people.

“I would also like to thank members of the constabulary for looking after us and looking after this process.”

He said his first priority would be to address the saga surrounding Cumbria's suspended temporary chief constable, Stuart Hyde.

An IPCC investigation has already cleared Mr Hyde of allegations of serious misconduct but Cumbria Police Authority - today replaced by Mr Rhodes - said his suspension would continue while it completed its own inquiries.

Mr Rhodes added: "My second priority is to consult regularly with the public and the third is to get across to victims that they will receive adequate redress for any criminal activity they have suffered."

Acting temporary chief constable of Cumbria Police, Bernard Lawson, congratulated Mr Rhodes, who will take up his role from next Thursday, November 22.

He said: "I welcome Mr Rhodes as the new Police and Crime Commissioner for Cumbria and look forward to working with him.

“As we continue to work within an ever changing police force, community policing is our priority. Our focus will continue to remain on tackling crime and anti-social behaviour, bringing offenders to justice and dealing with those issues that matter most to our communities.
“Cumbria has one of the lowest crime rates in the country and our priority will be to maintain this and continue to ensure that Cumbria remains a safe place to live, work and visit.”

South Lakeland has recorded the highest voter turnout in the countywide election.

However, the figure is still low compared to those who could have voted.
A total of 19,789 votes were cast in South Lakeland out of a possible electorate of 83,221.

It represented a turnout of 23.78 per cent.

It is likely to be among the highest voter turn outs in England and Wales, which has seen record lows reported.

Barrow recorded the lowest turnout in Cumbria with just 4,464 votes out of a possible 53,358 eligible to vote.

In Eden, 7,472 votes were cast from a possible 41,587, which means 17.97 per cent of those eligible to vote did so.

Cumbria-wide a total of 64,268 voted from a possible 392,285 possible voters, which is 16.38 per cent.

And there were 8,535 rejected ballot papers in both counts.