AFTER 350 days in office Cheshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner says his role has resulted in less crime and fewer victims in the county.

John Dwyer said that since being elected last year, he has brought crime down to its lowest level for more than a decade, with victims reduced by 1,000 in the past six months.

“There is absolutely less crime now than when I started in office,” he said.

“I think I am making a real difference and if the public aren’t yet aware of that at the moment they will be through my time in office. This is a marathon not a sprint and there is lots more to come.”

Elected as a Conservative Party candidate when 13.7 per cent of Cheshire voted, Mr Dwyer is the area’s first PCC.

He replaced the Police Authority in a Government move aimed at reducing bureaucracy and costs.

With a mandate to hold chief constable Dave Whatton to account, he claims to have improved Cheshire Police.

Mr Dwyer says the way burglaries were investigated was ‘not good enough’, and that a change in approach that sees every victim visited by an officer has lead to a reduction.

Challenges have included handling budget cuts, with £36m to be saved over three years, during public demand for more officers on the street.

There are currently 1,954 officers in Cheshire, down from 1,993 at the start of Mr Dwyer’s tenure.

The number of CSOs has dropped from 237 to 222.

That has meant 100 special constables, volunteers with police powers, have been recruited, with a further 100 expected to sign up by March.

Mr Dwyer said: “I saw a recruitment drive for specials as a way to address this issue.

“In an ideal world I wouldn’t cut any police officers but I have budget issues to deal with.

“Specials will never replace police officers, but they are of value, not pieces of cardboard.”

The commissioner will stay in office until at least the next election in 2016. Priorities include further reducing crime and helping more victims. So far, there have been no regrets.

Mr Dwyer added: “This is a job that no one has done before and we are all experiencing things that have taught us a lesson. But things are getting better.”