VOTERS are heading to polls across Epping Forest today to choose the district’s first police and crime commissioner.

Polls opened across the district at 7am and will close at 10pm.

The six candidates running in Essex are Conservative candidate Nick Alston, Labour candidate Val Morris-Cook, UK Independence Party candidate Andrew Smith, Robin Tilbrook of the English Democrats and independent candidates Linda Belgrove and Mick Thwaites.

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

Every force in the country will have its own commissioner, but critics claim there is no demand for a move which could politicise policing.

Results are expected to be announced tomorrow, with the elected commissioner taking up his or her position from November 22.