North Yorkshire’s first elected police boss admits she must work hard to win round the apathetic public who shunned her election in huge numbers.

Conservative Julia Mulligan, who lives in Elslack, beat York councillor Ruth Potter to become the county’s police and crime commissioner, but turnout was only 14.32 per cent and Mrs Mulligan won the support of only one in 13 eligible voters.

Similar turnouts nationwide meant the polls were the worst-attended in British history and Mrs Mulligan acknowledged there was a “lot to be done” to win the public’s confidence.

Defeated Labour candidate Ruth Potter said the turnout reflected a lack of public enthusiasm for the new commissioners.

She said: “This is obviously a very disappointing turnout to say it’s the flagship policy of the Government.

“I can understand the frustration of people who are saying the Government didn’t tell them enough about it. I think from the voting it is obvious that people do not want a police and crime commissioner.”

Mrs Mulligan, a former Craven district councillor, said she was “delighted” that so many people in North Yorkshire had voted for her.

“I feel extremely honoured that the communities of North Yorkshire and the City of York have elected me to be the individual who will represent their views in the development of policing and crime priorities across the area.

“I will now be concentrating on options to deliver my manifesto pledges and I will soon be making announcements on series of policies and initiatives.

“I look forward to visiting the Craven area and working with residents over the coming weeks. I will ensure there will be a number of opportunities for you to meet with me and talk to me about your thoughts and ideas on policing and crime in your area.” Mrs Mulligan has said she would make significant changes, including addressing the uncertainty over the position of the chief constable and the future of the force’s Newby Wiske headquarters.

Mrs Mulligan insisted she and other new commissioners would have a mandate because they would “replace the police authorities that weren’t directly elected at all”.

Mrs Mulligan won 54 per cent of the vote in York and North Yorkshire, with 47,885 votes.

Coun Potter won 38.74 per cent, with 34,328 votes. There were 6,406 spoiled papers. There were only two candidates.

Temporary Chief Constable Tim Madgwick said he looked forward to working with Mrs Mulligan, and confirmed he would be “throwing my hat into the ring” to become the permanent chief constable.