FORMER Liverpool MP Jane Kennedy was today elected Merseyside's first Police and Crime Commissioner with a woefully low turnout of 12.7%.
The Labour politician was declared the winner with 56.2% (70,884 votes), with Conservative candidate Geoff Gubb narrowly taking second with 12.6% (15,870 votes).
Independent Kiron Reid came third with 11.4% (14,379 votes), beating his former Liberal Democrat party colleague Paula Keaveney into fourth with just 7.3% of the vote share.
UKIP's Hilary Jones was fifth with 6.9%, and English Democrat Paul Rimmer was last with 5.7%.
In her victory speech at Liverpool Tennis Centre Ms Kennedy said: "I make this one promise that is to work very hard to do the best job for Merseyside, for the police and the community they serve.
"I know this is an election probably many of us did not want, but I want to thank all who have voted despite the low turnout. I appreciate their commitment to democracy in what is an important election.
The overall turnout is one of the lowest ever recorded on Merseyside, beat only by a by-election in the former Liverpool ward of Melrose in 1990s which saw only 6% of voters take part.
Mr Reid said: "I think the story of this election is a protest against the the government's imposition of the PCC policy.
"There has been a huge number of spoilt ballot papers. I am delighted that only having started by campaign two months ago and only having spent £300 that I came second.
"I congratulate Jane Kenendy on running a fair election. Although not directly relevant to Liverpool her experience as a former Northern Ireland minister will be useful.
"If she is independent of the party line she can be a great champion for the people of Merseyside."
As Merseyside's PCC, Ms Kennedy will now have the power to appoint and dismiss the region's chief constable, will be responsible for setting and updating a police and crime plan, will set the force's budget and will engage with the community to determine local policing priorities.
Her annual salary will be £85,000 and her elected term of office is four years. Her performance will be scrutinised by a police and crime panel made up of local representatives.
In the city of Liverpool alone, where turnout was 12.8%, Ms Kennedy was out in front with 27,536 first preference votes - 67% of the total - under the supplementary system used in the election.
Kiron Reid was second in Liverpool on 3,582 followed by Paula Keaveney on 3,395, Geoff Gubb on 2,203, Hilary Jane Jones on 1,771 and Paul Rimmer on 1,685.
Ms Kennedy won St Helens with 10,033 votes (59%) ahead of Kiron Reid on 1,688.
It was the same top two in Sefton with Ms Kennedy in first place on 10,858 (43%), Kiron Reid second on 3,999.
Knowsley was also won by the Labour candidate with 9,432 first preference votes (74%) again ahead of Kiron Reid on 722.
In Wirral, Ms Kennedy received 13,025 votes with Conservative Geoff Gubb in second on 7,108.
Cumbria-born Ms Kennedy, who represented Liverpool's Broadgreen and then Wavertree constituencies as an MP for 18 years, told the Post and ECHO earlier this month: "I believe there are real opportunities to examine the whole system and call to account all agencies who have a part to play in reducing crime.
"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 co-ordinated way, I believe you can maintain very good services across Merseyside through that."
Questions will be raised about how much of a democratic mandate the new police commissioners have with overall turnout for the 41 elections across England and Wales coming in at around 15%, according to early reports.
Turnout in Lancashire was 15.5% and in Greater Manchester it was 13.5%. In the West Midlands, only 12.3% of electors turned out to decide who will run the second largest police force in England and in Newport, Gwent, there was a polling station where not a single vote was cast.
Professor John Curtice, professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde, told the Guardian today: "It looks pretty likely that certainly we're going below 20%, that this will be the worst turnout for any nationwide set of election ever, and therefore will raise questions, I think, about whether this whole exercise was worth it in the first place."
Full results of Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner election:
Jane Kennedy, Labour Party - 70,884 (56.18%)
Geoff Gubb, Conservative Party - 15,870 (12.58%)
Kiron Reid, independent - 14,379 (11.40%)
Paul Keaveney, Liberal Democrat - 9,192 (7.29%)
Hilary Jane Jones, UK Independence Party - 8,704 (6.90%)
Paul Rimmer, English Democrats - 7,143 (5.66%)
Turnout - 12.7% of the electorate, 126,171 votes with 2,915 ballots rejected