VOTERS are less then a week away from their chance to choose who runs the county's police force for the first time.

Police and Crime Commissioner elections will take place across Epping Forest on Thursday November 15, with six candidates - two independent and three from political parties - in the running.

The winner will be responsible for setting the Essex Police's priorities, overseeing the force's budget and hiring its chief constable.

But the government has been criticised for under-publicising the elections, with the Electoral Reform Society predicting turnout could be as low as 18.5 per cent.

The Guardian headed to Epping High Street to ask residents for their views.

Sam Walker, 60, of Theydon Grove, Epping 

"I know it's happening and that's about all I know about it. When the polling card came in I hadn't even realised we had a vote coming up this year. I haven't had much describing the candidates and what they stand for. 

"As far I understand, I think it is potentially needed. Anything that provides a link between the public and police is a good thing."

Sangeeta Johnson, 47, of Stewards Close, Epping                

"I know it's happening. As far as candidates, I've not bothered to find out. It doesn't seem important. But we we will vote - it's our democratic right.

"I don't think having a commissioner will make a difference. I don't have a problem with the force as it is."

Pauline Tyler, 62, of Bower Hill, Epping         

"I haven't got a clue who's put up for it, what they stand for, who they are. I have heard about it, but there's no detail.

"When there's a general election you get a board up with all the information."

David Reynolds, 70, of Theydon Mount, Epping    

"I'm going to vote - I've got my polling card. But I don't really think there has been enough information."

Roy Cornwell, of Pelly Court, Epping    

"I think they are very necessary and I think there hasn't been enough information about them.

"There's an awful lot wrong with the current system - there's not enough police on the street and not enough prosecutions."

Linda Edwards, 68, of The Drummonds, Epping       

"I know when it is, I've got my voting paper. Apart from that I haven't got a clue. I probably will try to find out some information, but as I speak I know nothing.

"If it's important to people and important to the community then we should know more, shouldn't we?"