The first ever elections for police and crime commissioners (PCCs) will be held on 15 November 2012.

Sixty eight polling stations across Torbay will be open from 7am to 10pm on polling day and 105,500 Torbay residents have registered to vote and around 15,500 have registered for a postal vote which must be returned to the local returning officer by 10pm on November 15, otherwise they will not be counted.

PCCs will be able to set the priorities for the police force within their force area, respond to the needs and demands of their communities more effectively, ensure that local and national priorities are suitably funded by setting a budget and the local precept, and hold to account the local chief constable for the delivery and performance of the force.

They will work in partnership across a range of agencies at local and national level to ensure there is a unified approach to preventing and reducing crime. PCCs will not be expected to run the police. The role of the PCC is to be the voice of the people and hold the police to account.

Voters should check in advance where their polling station is and plan what time they intend to cast their vote. For those voting by post, it’s important to fill in your ballot paper privately and return as soon as possible.

The PCC elections are using the supplementary vote system. Voters should put a cross for their first and second choice candidates in their respective columns. As long as a cross is marked in the first choice column, the vote will count.

Every household should have received a booklet with information on what a Police and Crime Commissioner’s role involves, and how to complete the ballot paper. There is more information on the website, www.aboutmyvote or you can call a helpline on 0800 3280 280.