VOTE today to decide who will be the county's first police and crime commissioner.

Polls opened at 7am and will close at 10pm.

Whoever is appointed will be in charge of policing priorities across Essex and a budget worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

Operational decisions will remain with the Chief Constable but the new commissioner will choose the focus for the force.

Six candidates are vying for the highly paid position in the biggest shake-up of top level policing in years.

They are Conservative Nick Alston. Labour candidate Val Morris-Cook, UKIP's Andrew Smith, Robin Tillbroon for the English Democrats and Mick Thwaites and Linda Belgrove who are standing as independent candidates.

Mr Thwaites is a former police divisional commander from Essex and Mrs Belgrove was vice-chairman of the Essex Police Authority.

Results are due tomorrow.