Police and crime commissioner elections: Your views

It has been described as "the biggest change to policing since 1829" by the president of the Association of Chief Police Officers.

On 15 November, 37 police and crime commissioners will be elected in England along with four in Wales.

The PCCs, as they will be known, will be tasked with scrutinising their force and holding it to account.

But how much do you know about the elections, and what issues should the new commissioner in Devon and Cornwall be focusing on?

BBC News has asked people living in both counties about their views.

Elaine Dyer - Cornwall

Image caption Elaine Dyer said she was unsure whether the commissioners would make any difference

Elaine Dyer said she had not heard much about the elections.

She said: "I don't really care because I've never been involved with the police.

"I don't know if they [the commissioners] would make any difference to the way the police are run.

"It's good in some ways that they are going to be independent, but I wonder how easy it will be for them to communicate with people in the police force."

She added that Devon and Cornwall Police could perhaps do more to tackle shoplifting.

Sharon Hart - Devon

Image caption Sharon Hart said those candidates with a police background would be more suitable

Sharon Hart said she had not heard about the police and crime commissioner elections.

She said those without a police background would not be able to do the job effectively.

"We don't see enough police, there's a lot of community police [support officers, or PCSOs], but they don't have the same powers."

Viv Holmes - Devon

Image caption Viv Holmes said the police and crime commissioner role was one she supported

Viv Holmes said it was "about time" that the police had a commissioner in charge of setting the budget, and hiring and firing chief constables.

"I think it's a very good thing, I think everybody should vote," she said.

"We might be able to walk the streets at night a bit better then."

She added that she did not think candidates should not be standing for a party.

Rebecca House - Cornwall

Image caption Rebecca House said she wanted a local person to be elected in the role

Rebecca House said: "I hadn't heard about the elections but I do care because I think it's important that there's some change in the police force.

"Crime is rising among young people especially in places like Newquay where drinking has got out of hand and something needs to happen.

"I think a local person needs to step in because they know the issues."

She added that she was also aware of problem areas in St Austell and Bodmin.

Ms House said: "I think they should do a lot more about drugs, especially policing in nightclubs.

"When I went into Plymouth for a night out they were doing random searches all the time but in Cornwall you never really see it happen.

"A lot of places in Cornwall go unnoticed and people should feel safe on the streets wherever they are."

Dale Johnson - Devon

Image caption Dale Johnson said he was concerned about the impact of the police cuts

Dale Johnson said: "If the candidate does not have a police background, why are they in a position to decide who's in the police?"

He said he was concerned about the number of police on the beat and the impact of the police cuts.

"It's a shame it [the role] has got mixed-up with politics.

"People are quite easily influenced."

Maggie Joines - Cornwall

Image caption Maggie Joines said she thought the police had been "bogged down" with too much paperwork

Maggie Joines said: "I think it will be useful to have someone who is unbiased.

"I hope they will make a difference, but I have my doubts.

"I think it will be extremely difficult for them because they are coming from outside the police and they are going into an institution that is quite closed."

She added that she thought the police had been "bogged down" with too much paperwork and they had been taken away from their "core business".

John Lamont - Cornwall

Image caption John Lamont said he thought there were not enough police on the beat

John Lamont said: "We live in a democracy and everybody should take the opportunity to vote.

"But if you ask most people, they don't even know about it.

"The police commissioner is a good thing, depending on who gets in."

He added that there were not enough police on the beat.

Matt Lewis - Cornwall

Image caption Matt Lewis said rural crime bothers him more than city or town crime

Matt Lewis said he had seen some stories on TV about the PCC elections but did not know a lot about it.

He said: "I live on a farm in the middle of nowhere... crime on the streets doesn't really affect me overly.

"As soon as the price of metal goes up, gates and grain trailers are stolen."

He added that he hated drink driving "with a passion".

Brian Mahon - Devon

Image caption Brian Mahon said there were not enough police on the beat

Brian Mahon said he did not know who was standing, when polling day was or how the elections worked.

"I would have thought it would be helpful if the commissioners had some experience of being in the police," he said.

"However, sometimes someone from outside the organisation could be a better idea."

He added that there were not enough police on the beat and that officers had too much paperwork.

Jeremy Pearson - Devon

Image caption Jeremy Pearson thinks the role is making the police more politics-based

Jeremy Pearson said: "I think it [the role] is a load of politics really.

"It's turning police away from what the citizens need and making it more politics-based."

He added that he was concerned the role could lead to certain crimes being tackled and other areas being forgotten about.

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