PCC elections - meet your candidates - Rupi Dhanda
On November 15, elections will be held to choose Gloucestershire's first police and Crime Commissioner. To help you get to know the candidates, the SNJ is featuring a series of articles written by each of them ahead of polling day. This week, Gloucester lawyer Rupi Dhanda - who is standing for Labour - explains why she wants the role.
LIKE me you probably think, why do we want to elect somebody to run the police?
Unfortunately our Tory/Lib Dem Government pushed laws through Parliament to create this post.
So on November 15 the residents of Gloucestershire will elect a Police and Crime Commissioner.
As your Labour candidate I want to get across why I think you should participate in it.
Did you know that since the Tory led Government came into power 16 of Gloucestershire's 31 police stations have closed?
And another five are set to close very soon. Are we going to let them get away with cutting our police stations from 31 to just 10?
Stroud district has just two left.
The most important element to keeping law and order is our police force.
But in Gloucestershire the thin blue line is being erased, the cuts will lead to the loss of 120 officers (around ten per cent of our police force) and a third of backroom staff.
I passionately believe that Gloucestershire's Police Commissioner should not be a cheerleader for these cuts, but someone who will challenge the government for a better settlement - something I believe our MPs are failing to do.
Secondly, I want to see our county become a champion for restorative justice. If you smash up a bus shelter, you will be held accountable for repairing it, and that means paying for it.
I want to work with the criminal justice system to give more victims of crime the chance to explain to the criminals the impact of their crime.
Gloucestershire could and should become a national leader for restorative justice.
As a lawyer, I am alarmed by the watering down of police independence that I have seen.
Some constabularies are looking to outsource CID work to the private sector and the Government has already shut down the world renowned Forensic Science Service and replaced it with private sector providers that don't have the capacity to do the job.
Policing in Gloucestershire will not be sold to the highest bidder on my watch - I believe our police force should be about public service - not private profit.
My knowledge and experience of the police stems from my work as a partner in a local law firm, where I have worked with officers on family law issues for many years.
They tell me how cuts and imposed changes are damaging the force and sapping their morale.
Perhaps most importantly, as a working mum and as someone who has lived in this county for a decade, I can't bear to see the damage being inflicted by this government on local policing. Our police officers are not plebs, they are heroes.