Polling stations open until 10pm tonight for police chief elections

After months of campaigning, the polls opened this morning in Norfolk and Suffolk for the first ever police and crime commissioner (PCC) elections.

The Supplementary Vote voting system will be used for the elections, the polling stations for which opened at 7am.

PCCs will help set policing priorities, manage police budgets and have the power to appoint and sack a chief constable.

There are four candidates standing for the £70,000 post in Suffolk, including Thwaite resident Tim Passmore - the leader of Mid Suffolk District Council.

He is standing as a Conservative candidate, with Jane Basham representing Labour, Bill Mountford on a UK Independence Party (UKIP) ticket and David Cocks standing as an independent candidate.

In Norfolk, meanwhile, people heading to the polls have five candidates to choose from: Steve Morphew (Labour), Jamie Athill (Conservative), James Joyce (Liberal Democrats), Stephen Bett (independent), and Matthew Smith (UKIP).

The results are expected to be announced on Friday, with elected PCCs assuming office from 22 November.

The government set up the commissioner role in an effort to make police more accountable, with a single “figurehead” monitoring and ensuring performance.

The voting system for the elections, which are taking place in 41 of the UK’s 43 police areas until polling stations close at 10pm tonight, works as follows:

-People can make two choices for a PCC.

- Vote for your first choice candidate by marking a cross (X) in the first choice column.

- Vote for your second choice candidate by marking a cross (X) in the second choice column.

- You can choose not to mark a second choice.

- If you only mark a second choice, your vote will not be counted.

- If you give the same candidate your first and second choice, only your first choice will be counted.

- Marking a second choice cannot reduce the chances of your first choice being successful.

- Only one of your choices is counted towards the final result, so you still only get one vote.

- If a candidate gets more than half of all the first choice votes, they will be declared the winner.

- If no candidate gets more than half of the first choice votes, the two candidates with the most first choices go into a second round.

- The eliminated candidates’ ballot papers are reviewed and any second choice votes are added to their scores. The candidate with the highest number of combined first and second choice votes is the winner.