Polls ready to open for first Police and Crime Commissioner elections in Lincolnshire
Voters will go to the polls today to elect Lincolnshire's first police and crime commissioner.
People have the choice of four candidates and 57 polling stations in which to cast their vote. Turnout has been predicted to be as low as 15 per cent.
But whoever wins will be able to decide strategy and have the power to hire and fire chief constables.
The four contenders are, David Bowles (independent), Richard Davies (Conservative), Paul Gleeson (Labour) and Alan Hardwick (independent).
The candidates competing for the £65,000-a-year post faced the public in the final hustings of their campaign on Tuesday, November 13.
More than 60 people attended the two-hour event at Trinity Arts Centre in Gainsborough.
Police budgets, crime in rural communities, tackling problems with cyclists and the role of PCSOs in the county were discussed.
Mr Bowles said: "When it comes to our whole policing system it is very complex – especially the Crown Prosecution Service and the role of PCSOs. If elected I will simplify that.
"I will get amongst the police and see what is actually going on. At the moment, the system is simply not delivering.
"We have to get down to a very local level if policing in Lincolnshire is to improve."
Mr Davies said: "It is all about visibility. We need more police officers on the streets of Lincolnshire especially in the rural communities.
"Our officers are so stretched in rural patches.
"We need to give our officers tasers because they can go out to incidents not knowing what is going to happen and back-up can often be 20 minutes away."
Mr Gleeson said: "We need to understand the issues which are causing crime.
"The commissioner can make a big difference to the policing system over the course of time – there is no doubt about that.
"If elected I will be working with the people of Lincolnshire and I will be open and transparent."
Mr Hardwick said: "We need to abolish the paperwork and the bureaucracy that plagues our police officers each and every day.
"Police officers go into the job to be police officers.
"If elected I will reduce the paperwork and get more officers on the streets and PCSOs too."