Report by ITV News Anglia Political Correspondent Emma Hutchinson
Campaigning is well underway for this year's local elections which will also include a vote for Police and Crime Commissioners across the region.
On May 6th voters will go to the polls across our region to elect Police and Crime Commissioners and hundreds of Councillors, the biggest test of public opinion since the General election in 2019.
What does a Police and Crime Commissioner do?
The role of the PCCs is to be the voice of the local community and hold the police to account but they are not responsible for the operational side of policing which remains with the Chief Constable.
PCCs aim to cut crime and deliver an effective and efficient police service within their force area. PCCs are elected by the public to hold Chief Constables and the force to account.
Sets the police budget deciding how much you pay for policing through your council tax
Appoints the Chief Constable
Draws up a Police & Crime Plan for the local force area after consulting the public
Funds crime prevention measures
Commissions local victim support services
Works in partnership with local authorities, health and education services and the criminal justice sector
Some PCCs are also responsible for the Fire & Rescue Service in their area and are known as Police, Fire and Crime Commissioners (PFCCs).
There are PFCCs in Essex and Northamptonshire.
Elections are usually every four years but this one's been delayed by the pandemic.
In Bedfordshire, it's a closely fought contest to be the next Police and Crime Commissioner.
It's one of the smallest police forces but police there say they face big challenges including serious crimes, drugs, gangs and terrorism threats.
Currently police in Bedfordshire are funded as a rural force. However, they are close to London and the outgoing Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner has campaigned for extra funding from the Conservative Government, a campaign their candidate would continue.
Here's what some of the candidates have to say:
Conservative candidate Festus Akinbusoye-
The Liberal Democrats say change is needed to get the extra cash.
Liberal Democrat candidate Jas Parmar-
The independent candidate says the county needs more police.
Independent candidate, Cllr Patrick Hamilll-
Labour have won here before and hope a visit from their party leader and their candidates experience can persuade voters.
Labour candidate David Michael
You can see more information about each candidate on this government website - choosemypcc.org.uk
Polling day is on Thursday 6th May, stations are open from 7am until 10pm. If you're not yet registered to vote, you have until midnight tonight to sign up.
You can register to vote here.