CONSERVATIVE candidate and retired Cheshire Assistant Chief Constable John Dwyer has been elected as the county's first ever Police and Crime Commissioner.
Mr Dwyer (48,591 votes) beat off competition from nearest rival John Stockton (37,350 votes), a Labour Halton borough councillor, in a poll strongly contested by independent Sarah Flannery (18,596 votes).
Enthusiasm for the election was underwhelming with an overall turn-out of just 14.08%.
Neither Mr Dwyer nor Mr Stockton achieved the magic 50% of the vote needed to become outright winner after the first count, so went head-to-head in a second round which saw the second preference votes for the other candidates redistributed.
The commissioner (PCC) replaces Cheshire Police Authority after the county went to the polls along with the rest of the country on Thursday as part of radical national changes.
The PCC, on a £75,000 annual salary, will set the budget and local strategy for force with the power to sack the Chief Constable who remains responsible for operational decisions.
Mr Dwyer, who was at West Midlands police at the same time as Cheshire Constable David Whatton but did not work with him, said in his victory speech: "Thank you to the people of Cheshire for electing me as the first Police and Crime Commissioner for this county.
"I'm honoured to take that post and I will start delivering on the mandate in my manifesto in the very near future. I won't let you down. Thank you everybody for your support."
Mr Dwyer's priorities will be enhancing front-line policing, increasing the number of Special Constables to 1,000 and demanding a zero tolerance approach to yobbish behaviour.
Tackling rural crime will also be a focus.
Mr Dwyer, 62, who lives with his wife Zena in the village of Hatherton near Nantwich, served as a borough councillor with the former Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council before its replacement by Cheshire East.
The PCC will now give up his job as a security consultant assisting companies to develop anti-fraud strategies.
He is the National Councillor for the Merseyside Region of the Federation of Small Businesses.
The contest was also fought by Lib Dem candidate Ainsley Arnold who polled 10,653 votes and UKIP candidate Louise Bours who picked up 8,557 votes.
The number of spoilt ballot papers was 7,462, with a total of 108,902 votes cast.