Lincolnshire’s under-fire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick has revealed he has no intention of resigning.
Mr Hardwick is facing calls to step down after his controversial decision to suspended chief constable Neil Rhodes last year.
Last week, Mr Hardwick apologised to Mr Rhodes following pressure from the county’s Police and Crime Panel after he was criticised in a top-level enquiry.
Mr Hardwick’s handling of the saga - which has cost council taxpayers more than £165,000 - has led to intense speculation about his future.
But in an exclusive interview with this newspaper today (Wednesday), Mr Hardwick stressed he had no intention of quitting.
Asked whether he was carrying on in the job, he said: “The last time I looked, the elections (for commissioner) are in 2016.
“From day one, this job has been challenging. Some days are more challenging than others.”
Mr Hardwick refused to speak directly about his decision to suspend Mr Rhodes but has previously said both men are happy to work together.
However, he did say his position could come under threat before 2016 - if Labour wins the next General Election.
Mr Hardwick claimed Labour did not like the idea of Police and Crime Commissioners and would abolish them.
He added: “They have also talked in the same breath about amalgamating police forces. You might say that - and abolishing crime commissioners - are two separate matters but I don’t think they are.
“If you did both, I think you would take away something from local democracy. I am not a politician and quite frankly, if there is a new Government and they decide they want to abolish crime commissioners, then there is nothing I can do about it.”
Mr Hardwick was speaking on a visit to Horncastle earlier today when he met campaigners fighting to reduce the speed of vehicles travelling along Stanhope Road.