IT was an historic occasion. As Simon Hayes took the oath to accept office as the first police and crime commissioner, it marked the end for Hampshire Police Authority.
From tomorrow, Mr Hayes will be charged with holding the purse strings for Hampshire police after being elected to the controversial £85,000-a-year post.
Speaking at a packed final police authority meeting in Winchester yesterday, Mr Hayes said: ‘During my term of office, I will serve all the people of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight in the office of police and crime commissioner.
‘I will act with integrity and intelligence in my role and to the best of my ability will exact the duties of my office to ensure police are able to cut crime.
Mr Hayes, who pipped Tory candidate Michael Mates to be elected to the post, vowed to give the public a voice, particularly victims of crime.
The former police authority chairman, who is chairman of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight branch of the Crimestoppers charity, also pledged to work with other agencies to ensure the community is safe.
Mr Hayes added: ‘I will not interfere with the operational independence of police officers.’
The new police and crime commissioner’s top priority is the appointment of a new Chief Constable following Alex Marshall’s departure.
Mr Marshall is to leave the force on February 3 to become chief executive officer of the new National College of Policing.
Mr Hayes, backed by a 17-strong Police and Crime Panel, is also charged with setting the force’s budget and council tax precept and holding the force to account on behalf of the public. He has powers to hire and fire the chief constable.
Police authority chairman Adrian Collett yesterday praised police, members and staff for their efforts.
He said: ‘Just look at what has been achieved in the last few years in particular, driving down crime.’
He added: ‘I’m proud of what we have done and I hope the future can bring similar privileges.
‘It’s obviously what we all want to see.’
Mr Marshall also paid tribute to staff, members and officers who have helped him steer the force through unprecedented challenges including multi-million pound government spending cuts.