Voters across the UK will head to the polls today (6 May) to cast their vote in the most extensive range of local elections in almost 50 years.
Dubbed ‘Super Thursday’, polling stations in England, Scotland and Wales opened at 7am ready to welcome voters.
Around 48 million people will have the chance to vote on almost 5,000 seats of power on what is the most significant local polling day since 1973.
Voters in Scotland and Wales will elect their next parliaments, while voters in England will select their local councillors and mayors.
Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections will also take place in England and Wales.
This year will mark the third time the PCC elections have been held, with the last election taking place in May 2016.
The election was originally meant to take place in May last year, but was forced to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Here’s what you need to know about the role of the PCC and who is standing in your area.
What is a Police and Crime Commissioner?
PCCs are elected representatives with responsibility for policing in each of the 41 police force areas in England and Wales.
Every force area is represented by a PCC, with the exception of Greater Manchester and London, where the PCC responsibilities lie with the elected mayor instead.
What does a Police and Crime Commissioner do?
The role of the PCC is to serve as the voice of the people and hold the police to account.
The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners states that PCCs should aim to cut crime within their force area, and deliver an effective and efficient police service.
They are elected by the public in order to hold Chief Constables and the force to account, effectively making the police answerable to the communities they serve.
PCCs also work in partnership across a range of agencies at local and national level to ensure there is a unified approach to preventing and reducing crime.
Under the terms of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, PCCs must:
- secure an efficient and effective police for their area;
- appoint the Chief Constable, hold them to account for running the force, and if necessary dismiss them;
- set the police and crime objectives for their area through a police and crime plan;
- set the force budget and determine the precept;
- contribute to the national and international policing capabilities set out by the Home Secretary; and
- bring together community safety and criminal justice partners, to make sure local priorities are joined up.
Who is standing in my area?
The PCC elections cover 41 police force areas in England and Wales, excluding the Metropolitan Police, Greater Manchester Police, West Yorkshire Police and City of London Police.
In these areas the PCC functions are exercised by the Mayor of London, the combined authority mayors for Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire, and the Court of the Common Council (part of the City of London Corporation) respectively.
To find who is standing to be PCC in your area, visit choosemypcc.org.uk.
Simply enter your postcode and a list of candidates will be shown for where you live, including their election statements.
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