Lincolnshire’s under-fire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick has hit back at his critics and insisted he has no intention of resigning.
An influential group of MP’s has added to the pressure on Mr Hardwick as the fall-out continues from his controversial decision to suspended and then reinstate acting chief constable Neil Rhodes.
MP’s have described Mr Hardwick’s handling of the crisis as ‘shambolic’ while a High Court judge said the suspension was ‘irrational and perverse.’
In an exclusive interview with our reporter, Mr Hardwick defended his role and urged MP’s to ‘leave me alone and let me get on with the job.’
He also revealed he had a very close - and strong - working relationship with Mr Rhodes.
Mr Hardwick said: “Why should I resign? To what end? My integrity is intact and I do believe I am doing - and will continue to do - a positive job for the people of Lincolnshire.
“I am passionately fond of Lincolnshire and the people. I am so proud to be the Police and Crime Commissioner for this county that I love.”
Mr Hardwick stressed he had broad shoulders and was not concerned by the criticism which included stinging comments from Keith Vaz MP, the chairman of the influential House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee.
He added: “ It would worry me if the people who are levelling the criticism knew the full story and still felt they should criticise me.
“I will put up with just about anything, including Keith Vass.
“They don’t know the full story. A lot of information is either incorrect or slanted in a hopelessly partisan way.
“It doesn’t bother me because at the end of the day the attacks have not deflected me from doing the job that I was elected to.
“It has been very challenging in the last few weeks for various reasons. but it hasn’t had a detrimental effect on the policing of Lincolnshire
“I can tell you now that the chief constable and I have a very good - and close - working relationship.
“We are both professionals and whatever has happened in the recent past will be resolved very quickly.
“The inquiry that I launched is on-going and will report within the next two or three weeks.”
Mr Hardwick said he felt sorry for Councillor Ray Wootten who resigned earlier this week as chairman of the Crime and Police Panel.
He also revealed details of his plans for the future of policing in the county and gave an assurance that the number of frontline officers would not be cut, despite worrying budgets reductions.