Norfolk’s first police and crime commissioner has reiterated his election pledge that “public safety” will be his number one priority as he officially takes up the role.

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Stephen Bett, former chairman of the police authority, tomorrow formally takes up the post after winning last week’s landmark election.

Mr Bett, who resigned from the Conservative party in September to embark on an independent campaign, today signed a declaration of acceptance of office at the offices of the police authority, now the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk, in Wymondham.

The historic act was witnessed by a number of distinguished guests including Norfolk’s Lord Lieutenant Richard Jewson, chief constable Phil Gormley and Robin Chapman, chairman of the police authority which has now been abolished.

Mr Bett said: “Having opposed the introduction of PCCs, I decided that the best way to continue working towards a safer Norfolk was to stand as a candidate.

“I and my team ran a ‘safety’ campaign - keep Norfolk police safe from party politics; safe from privatisation for the sake of dogma - and safe for everyone who lives, works and visits our county. My number one priority will be public safety and I won’t compromise on that.”

Mr Jewson said: “Could I just congratulate Stephen on winning this election and being willing to take up this role.”

“Norfolk it seems to me has been very well served by the police force for a very long time and we should be grateful for it.”

He added: “No doubt this new direction will lead to some new challenges which will have to be overcome and I’m sure we all hope Stephen will overcome his private reservations about the need for this. I’m sure he will and I’m sure the continuity will be of good value to Norfolk.”

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