Tomorrow Hampshire voters will go to the polls to elect their first ever Police and Crime Commissioner.
The crucial vote will spell the end for police authorities – who hold the purse strings for policing – in what has been branded the biggest shake-up of police governance for almost 50 years.
Six candidates vying for the £85,000-a-year job in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
Police and crime commissioners elected across the UK will be charged with empowering the public to have a say on how crime is tackled in their area.
With powers to hire and fire their top police officer, hold the force to account and set the council tax precept and budget for policing, it’s no easy job.
In total, 37 PCCs will take office across the country on November 22 – a week after being elected – in a controversial move by the coalition government.
Fears have been raised about how one person, backed by a deputy and Police and Crime Panel, will rise to the challenge at a time when Hampshire’s force is bidding to save £55m by April 2015 due to government spending cuts.
Already police stations and front desks have shut, services are being shared with neighbouring forces and about 1,100 people – 700 staff and 400 officers – are to be axed to save cash.
And as Alex Marshall prepares to leave the force to become chief executive officer of the New National College of policing, top of the agenda has to be the appointment of a new Chief Constable.
No mean feat for a three-day-a-week job.
Which is why, the government says, it is vital that people use their vote to have a say.