Voters pick who will run our police
Polling stations opened early today as the election of a police and crime commissioner got under way.
People were able to cast their votes from 7am. Polling stations will remain open until 10pm.
Three people are in the race to become police and crime commissioner, (PCC) for Leicestershire, replacing the police authority.
The Labour Party's candidate is assistant mayor of Leicester and Westcotes councillor Sarah Russell.
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The Conservatives are represented by recently-retired Air Chief Marshall Sir Clive Loader, a parish councillor in Wing, Rutland.
Leicester community worker and businessman Suleman Nagdi is standing as an independent.
Councillor Russell said: "I'd like to remind people that polling stations don't close until late in the evening and they should make their voices heard.
"It's hard to get a sense of what the turnout will be.
"A lot of people I have met while out campaigning have been positive about the election but we have to wait and see whether they actually get out and vote."
Sir Clive said: "I would like to remind people to get out and vote for something which is massively important and will affect all of us."
Mr Nagdi said: "The campaign has gone extremely well and it has been extremely amicable.
"In a way it has been unlike many elections because the candidates here have set out their principles without taking pot-shots at each other."
The Government believes the PCCs, who are being elected in 41 police areas across the country, will be more accountable to the public than the existing police authorities.
Critics fear the reform could politicise policing, with the majority of candidates across the country representing the major parties.
Concern that voter turnout could be as low as 18.5 per cent has also been expressed.
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper told ITV 1's Daybreak: "The Government, as well as choosing to have the elections in November when they could have waited until May, have simply not provided people with proper information."
But Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps said: "I think it is really important that people know a figurehead, a name of a person that they can turn to when they are concerned about crime and anti-social behaviour in their area.
"This is somebody who will be directly accountable to them for the very first time."
The Leicestershire and Rutland PCC will earn about £70,000 and will themselves be scrutinised by a panel of councillors.
Polling stations will be open between 7am and 10pm.
Counts will take place in each local authority from noon tomorrow with the winner to be announced at the Hermitage leisure centre, in Whitwick, later in the day.