Guide to the powers of the new Police and Crime Commissioner for Northamptonshire

Adam Simmonds (Cons), John Norrie (Ind), Paul Varnsverry (LibDem), Jim MacArthur (UKIP)
Adam Simmonds (Cons), John Norrie (Ind), Paul Varnsverry (LibDem), Jim MacArthur (UKIP)

The official turnout for the Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner elections has been revealed as 19.82 per cent.

Nationally voters have shown little interest in the first generation of police and crime commissioners, with turnout as low as 10 per cent in some areas.

But what will the winning candidates do?

The directly-elected individuals will replace existing police authorities in the 41 force areas in England and Wales outside London.

Home Secretary Theresa May says PCCs will give the public a voice at the highest level and the ability to ensure police are accountable.

What powers will the new PCCs have?

They will have the power to hire and fire chief constables, decide force priorities and set force budgets.

But it will not be for PCCs to tell the professionals how to do their job.

Why are they controversial?

Supporters say they will boost accountability across forces in England and Wales, but critics believe they could politicise policing, with commissioners favouring headline-grabbing initiatives over tackling serious crime.

Critics also question if they will have real legitimacy if the turnout falls too low on polling day.

How much will they be paid?

The salary will vary from £65,000 to £100,000, with PCCs in the bigger force areas earning more.

£100,000: West Midlands, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire

£85,000: Thames Valley, Merseyside, Northumbria, Hampshire, Kent, Lancashire, Devon & Cornwall, South Yorks, Essex, Avon & Somerset, Sussex, South Wales

£75,000: Nottinghamshire, Hertfordshire, West Mercia, Cheshire, Humberside, Staffordshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire

£70,000: Surrey, Norfolk, Cleveland, Durham, Cambridgeshire, North Wales, North Yorks, Gwent, Northamptonshire, Suffolk, Dorset, Wiltshire, Bedfordshire

£65,000: Gloucestershire, Lincolnshire, Cumbria, Warwickshire, Dyfed-Powys

What are police and crime panels?

The panel in each force area will hold the commissioner to account. In England, they will be made up mostly of representatives from each local authority in the force area, while in Wales they will be free-standing public bodies, set up and maintained by the secretary of state, rather than local authority committees.

What’s happening in London?

London has a directly-elected mayor, who acts as the capital’s PCC (mayor Boris Johnson has appointed Stephen Greenhalgh as his deputy mayor for policing).

The police and crime panel is formed from a committee of elected London Assembly members and the Scotland Yard Commissioner will continue to be a royal appointment on the advice of the Home Secretary.