THE race to become the new elected Police and Crime Commissioner of Lancashire has started to gain momentum.

The first nominations for the controversial directly elected role have started to be announced.

The role will replace the current police authority system, in which an independent body sets the budget and strategic direction for policing in the county.

In the running to become the Conservative candidate is Ribble Valley Coun Kevin Horkin and former police officer Sam Chapman.

Early indications show the Labour candidate will be either County Coun Clive Grunshaw, Ibrahim Master or Mark Atkinson.

Businessman Coun Horkin said he was the man for the job because he had ‘his ear to the ground in Lancashire’.

He said: “I believe if you look at my career over the last 30 years I have proved I have my ear to the ground in Lancashire.

Former Cambridge University student Sam Chapman, said he wanted to serve the force he joined as a rookie 20 years ago. He said: “To be tough on crime, you have to be tough on criminals.”

Lancashire County Coun Clive Grunshaw, who lives in Fleetwood, said he had a wealth of experience for the role.

He said: “I have been a member of Lancashire Police Authority for several years and Chair of Resources for the LPA for the past four. I know the issues.”

Fellow candidate and Lancashire Police Authority member Ibrahim Master said: “My expertise would allow me to hit the ground running as Lancashire’s first Police and Crime Commissioner.”

Blackpool Coun Mark Atkinson said he would carryy on ’campaigning for change rather than correct the minutes’.

Also rumoured to be standing is Tony Johnson, under his own party The Alliance Party GB.

The change over to the new system is scheduled for November after being put back by the Government. It is expected to cost £1.4million.

It means one individual will oversee the entire force and critics of the idea say it could ‘politicise’ the police.

Chairman of Lancashire Police Authority Malcolm Doherty officially stepped down earlier this month.

Concerns have been expressed about whether the new commissioner will be handle the workload have been expressed as they will be taking over from 17 independent and party members.

Mark Atkinson

“I was born and bred in Lancaster and I joined the Labour Party in 1994, aged 15. I have had a 11-year career working for the Local Government Association and charities including the CAB.”

Clive Grunshaw

“I have the most relevant personal and political experience of any of the possible Labour candidates. I know the issues, particularly budget issues, and the complex challenges facing police.”

Ibrahim Master

“My in-depth understanding of the inner workings of the police force is my biggest advantage over the other candidates.”

Sam Chapman

“It is time to stand up for the rights of victims and the community. There is too much bending over backwards to help offenders who don't want or deserve help.”

Kevin Horkin

“I think this directly elected Police Crime Commissioner is the best thing the Coalition Government has come up with yet.

It let victims of crime the directly petition for change.”