Staff at Bedfordshire PCC's office prepare to welcome a new boss after election
Staff at the office of Bedfordshire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) are preparing to welcome a new boss.
Today (Thursday), voters across the country go to the polls to choose a new PCC, with the results due to be announced at around 4.30pm tomorrow (Friday).
Established by David Cameron's government in 2012, the PCC is responsible for setting the force's budget priorities, lobbying for funding from central government and working with the chief constable to allocate resources.
As elected members, they are directly accountable to the communities they serve. They attend monthly Police and Crime Panel meetings, where panel members made up of local councillors and independent lay members scrutinise their actions in running the force.
The PCC is also responsible for holding the chief constable to account over their performance; and has powers both to recruit and remove a chief constable if necessary.
In Bedfordshire, five candidates are running for office. They are businessman Festus Akinbusoye (Conservatives); retired detective chief inspector David Michael (Labour), Clifton postmaster and ex-policeman Jas Parmar (Liberal Democrat); Ex-UKIP now Independent Central Bedfordshire Councillor Pat Hammill (Independent) and law graduate Antonio Vitiello (English Democrats Party).
The Bedfordshire PCC's office is one of the smallest in the country and is run by a team of staff responsible for putting the PCC's goals into practice. This includes applying for bids and grants from central government in order to top up core funding. They also commission services from charities, such as The Lord Taverner's, in order to help reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.
The Bedfordshire PCC's chief of staff, Clare Kelly, said: "The election is an important time for the people of Bedfordshire to have their say about who becomes the next Police and Crime Commissioner.
"It is also proving to be a time when I can truly say how proud I am of my entire team and the organisations that work with us or are commissioned by us.
"I have seen people put views on the election aside, to come together as they work towards the good for our community.
"Also, as an office, I want to assure the people of Bedfordshire that we will consult fully in line with statutory guidance upon the winning candidate's Police and Crime Plan.”
> Polls close at 10pm tonight. To read the candidate's statements, click here.