Voters begin electing first Police and Crime Commissioners

Polls have opened as voters choose England and Wales's first Police and Crime Commissioners in the most radical shake-up of the service in half a century. Elections are being held in the 41 police areas outside London.

But some experts claim turnout could be as low as 15% as a combination of apathy, lack of awareness and dark, cold weather keeps voters at home.

Graduates during a passing out ceremony for the newly graduated police officers Credit: Press Assocation

The new commissioners, who are expected to earn up to £100,000, will control police budgets, set priorities and have the power to hire and fire chief constables.