She has pledged to get more police officers back on the streets and to re-open some of the region’s closed police stations.
The Conservative candidate was re-elected to the role with an increased majority on her 2016 win after counting yesterday went late into the evening, following a ‘discrepancy’ in Cornwall.
Hernandez was being challenged by Labour’s Gareth Derrick, Liberal Democrat Brian Blake, and Stuart Jackson of the Green Party, and she came agonisingly close of a first round victory, scoring 49.97 per cent of the votes, just short of the 50 per cent required.
After the second round of voting, she increased her majority to 65.2 per cent, up on the 51.1 per cent she won with in 2016.
Turnout for the PCC vote was up from 22.1% in 2016 to 37.2%, partly a reflection of the fact that at the previous poll there weren’t other local elections taking place apart from in Plymouth and in Exeter.
In her victory speech, Hernandez set out her stall for Devon and Cornwall to become the safest place in England and to get police officers back on the streets.
She said: “I am elated to get the opportunity for three more years. We have become the second lowest crime area since I came into office and we want to get to number one, so I want to work with the communities to get there. We want to be so intolerant and create an environment so hostile to crime we stay at number one as well.
“We have to get the officers on the street. We have 317 of the 498 recruited and we want to get them out on the street and on foot patrol and the community needs to be see that visibility and that investment on the streets where they live.
“We have had a promise from Government for more than the 498 coming so we have to make sure we get our fair share of that and we will do all we can to ensure we have a sustainable budget, so I am confident that we will be fine.”
She added: “The biggest thing is about reopening front desks and police stations. We already reopened Newquay last year, Tiverton is next in Devon, but I think a few stations in Cornwall are keen to see reopen again, with Penzance particularly and a few others waiting to see if there is support for them.
“Tiverton has a lot of community support and will reopen this year by the autumn and the next thing is to get those police on the street. Rural communities expect those police back on the streets and it will be the chief constable’s number one objective.”
In the first round of vote, Hernandez received 247,173 votes (49.97 per cent), with Derrick on 99,894 (20.2 per cent), Blake on 88,318 (17.8 per cent) and Jackson on 59,242 (11.9 per cent)
Vote share for the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats was up on 2016, with Labour slipping back, while the Greens didn’t stand last time.
After the second round of voting, Hernandez had 275,217 votes (65.2 per cent), compared to Derrick’s 146,979.
Hernandez said she wanted to congratulate her opponents, “particularly Gareth, on what has been a hard-fought campaign.
By local democracy reporter Richard Whitehouse