GLOUCESTER lawyer Rupi Dhanda, is standing as Labour's candidate in the Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner elections.

"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?" she asks.

"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 and a third of backroom staff.

"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."

Rupi said she wanted Gloucestershire to lead the way in restorative justice - where criminals literally pay for their crimes.

And she said police independence was key.

She explained: "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.