Conservative Katy Bourne has been elected as the first police and crime commissioner (PCC) for Sussex.
She beat her nearest rival, Labour's Godfrey Daniel, on second preference votes after neither candidate secured 50% of the vote.
The turnout, including people who spoilt their ballot papers, was 15.82%.
Ms Bourne will take over responsibility for overseeing Sussex Police, appointing and dismissing the chief constable and setting the budget.
Of the 195,218 people who voted in the Sussex election, 5,982 spoilt their ballot papers.
UKIP's Tony Armstrong, independent Ian Chisnall and David Rogers, of the Liberal Democrats, were eliminated in the first round.
'Crime fighting priorities'
In the first preference Ms Bourne polled 59,635, which was 31% of the vote, compared to Mr Daniel's 40,765 votes.
She was awarded 20,393 second preference votes compared to her rival's 14,837.
This gave her a total of 80,028 votes over Mr Daniel's 55,602.
Speaking after the result was declared, she said: "It's time to park the politics of the campaign.
"I'm looking forward to working with the chief constable and setting the crime fighting priorities that people in Sussex want."
Ms Bourne is a Mid Sussex district councillor, businesswoman and national chairwoman of the Conservative Women's Organisation.
Labour candidate Mr Daniel said the result was "credible".
"It showed that we're people to be reckoned with - people who are fighting against the cuts in policing," he said.
"I give Katy Bourne my congratulations and just hope policing doesn't suffer with cuts from her government."