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  1. ITV Report

Who's in charge of our police?

Police tape at the scene of a crime Photo: PA

In the biggest shakeup of how our police forces are run in more than fifty years, voters will go to the polls next Thursday 15th November to elect the first ever Police and Crime Commissioners.

It affects nine police forces in the Midlands. The winners on the night will have the power to hire and fire the Chief Constable, set budgets and decide priorities for the way policing is carried out day to day .

The elected Commissioner replaces the current system of unelected police authorities.

The coalition government believes it will enhance the management of policing by making it more open and accessible to ordinary people.

Riot police attending a demonstration in Walsall earlier this year Credit: ITV Central

But there is great concern that considering the power that each commissioner will wield a poor voter turnout, as is predicted will cast doubt on whether they can lay claim to a democratic mandate.

There was much talk of the positions being open to high profile independent candidates - in the event many of those putting themselves forward are linked to mainstream political parties,

But campaigning is now well under way. Hustings have been held across midlands towns and cities. Those bidding for power say they welcome the approach of ordinary people wanting to know more of what they stand for.

The elected commissioner will hold his or her police force to account but they cannot direct day to day policing. It will be more of a guiding hand and overview role.

Those in favour of the big change say it will give people more of a voice and make the police more alive to the concerns of the victims of crime.

Those opposed say it will politicise the service and run the risk of high profile commissioners wanting to grab favourable headlines in favour of tackling more mundane crimes.

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