In Wiltshire, the only police area to have announced results so far, only 15.3 per cent of eligble voters turned up to cast their vote.

According to Police Exchange, the think tank which originally proposed the commissioners's role, turnout will be the lowest of any national poll in British history.

Only 15 per cent of the public are expected to vote, which is significantly lower than the 23 per cent who turned out in the 1999 European elections, the worst ever turnout in a national poll.

The newly elected commissioners will be responsible for the budgets, strategies and priorities of their respective police forces, and will be paid up to £100,000 per year.

Like the Mayor of London, they will also have the power to hire and fire Chief Constables.

Voters around the country have taken to the social networking site Twitter to report low turnout at poll booths across the country.

One voter, Paul Taylor, said: "Voted in West Oxfordshire around 16:00. First voter in two hours said staff".

Another vote, Ian Storey-Less, said: "Walked into our polling station at 14:25 and the staff jumped a mile when we opened the door".

Datatable: PCC election candidates

Interactive chart: Historically low election turnouts compared

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