Ms Curran, who was chosen from a shortlist of three by new police commissioner Matthew Grove, was formally appointed after a 90-minute confirmation hearing of the police and crime panel yesterday.
The 45-year-old mother-of-two will take up the £139,119 a year role in April following the retirement of Humberside chief Tim Hollis, who has led the force for eight years.
“I’m relieved and delighted I have been confirmed this morning,” Ms Curran told the Yorkshire Post. “It was a challenging process but a fair one and now I can move forward and start to plan for the future.”
Reflecting on the fact that she will lead a force that has never previously appointed a woman beyond the rank of chief superintendent, Ms Curran said: “I think it sends a really positive message that all opportunities are available to everybody, regardless of gender, race or whatever.”
Ms Curran joined Greater Manchester Police on the graduate entry scheme in 1988 and has also worked at Merseyside Police.
She became an assistant chief constable of Greater Manchester in 2007 and the following year faced probably the most challenging period of her career.
Her chief constable Michael Todd was found dead in March 2008, and in May, Ms Curran was Gold Commander for the UEFA Cup Final in Manchester when thousands of fans rioted after the game. A month later she was the duty officer in charge when a firearms officer was shot dead during a training exercise.
Ms Curran told the hearing police officers often needed “the wisdom of Job”.
Mr Grove said: “I wanted us to get the best of the best and I think I’ve succeeded. I don’t think I could have found a better person to share my vision.”