MERSEYSIDE’S first Police and Crime Commissioner has vowed to go out on patrol with officers to fully understand the daily challenges they face.

Labour's Jane Kennedy, who will be sworn in to the new post next Thursday, secured 56per cent of the votes – but the election was overshadowed by dire turnouts across the country.

Ms Kennedy, a former Liverpool MP, will oversee policing in St Helens – one of six command units in the region.

She will have the powers to hire and fire the chief constable, set budgets and draw up strategies.

According to the Liverpool Echo, she will be paid a salary of £85,000. The commissioner will be held to account by a police and crime panel, made up of people from local authorities.

Speaking last night, she said: "Now that I am elected, I will be hitting the ground running.

“I hope to meet the officers of Merseyside police and am already planning to go out on patrol so I can fully understand the challenges which they face day in and day out.

"And I want to start the process of examining the whole system and to call to account all the agencies who have a part to play in reducing crime.

"I strongly believe that if you can forge strong, real partnerships between agencies like the youth justice service, the probation service, the prison service, the voluntary and community sector, the faith sector and if you can get them all working together in a more co-ordinated way, you can maintain the very good services that exist across Merseyside despite the tough challenges which we face."

Turnout across Merseyside was 12.7per cent, while in St Helens it was 12.9, mirroring a dismal trend nationally.

In her victory speech, Ms Kennedy added: "This is an election that probably none of us wanted, but I do want to thank all those that have voted, despite the low turnout. I appreciate their commitment and their involvement in democracy in what is an important election.

"I make this one promise. That is to work very hard, to do the best job for Merseyside, for the police and for the communities that they serve."

Merseyside's Police and Crime Commissioner elect said the result sent a clear message back to the Tories and Lib Dems in Government.

Speaking after the count, she added: "What is clear from these results is that people right across Merseyside are not happy with the policies of the Tory-Lib Dem Government.

"The poor turnout itself, and the ultimate result, is a clear statement from the people of Merseyside, and wider afield in the UK, to David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

"It would be foolish for them not to hear this as a warning sign from the electorate.

"They ignored the warning from the Labour party about their mismanagement of this entire election process.”