PCC candidate Rupi Dhanda tweets over Gloucestershire badger cull
THE Labour candidate to become Gloucestershire's first Police Commisioner has sparked controversy by saying she would use her power to stop the badger cull if elected.
Rupi Dhanda told followers on Twitter that if she gets the job, she would not allow officers to attend the cull.
The tweet said: "If I am elected as PCC (Police and Crime Commissioner) my officers will not oversee a badger cull, hence no cull. Full stop."
But critics said it showed Mrs Dhanda has not grasped what the role entails.
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One of her rivals at next month's election, retired county police superintendent Martin Surl standing as an independent, said: "If she intends to bring pressure on the Chief Constable not to police the cull, that is very dangerous.
"The police frequently have to stand between opposing groups and often get abuse from both sides.
"They have their own views but police without fear or favour – that's why it's called the thin blue line."
Mrs Dhanda, wife of the city's ex-Labour MP Parmjit Dhanda, has opposed the cull for reasons of animal cruelty, pressure on police and because she does not believe it is the best method for preventing bovine TB.
Her tweet prompted several replies, including one from Sam Chapman, who runs the Top of the Cops website, who wrote: "Rupi, have you read the policing protocol? This is clearly an operational matter and it would be unlawful for a PCC to interfere."
Christopher E Wright said: "That is surely an operational decision and outside PCC remit... by a very long way."
But tweeter Jo Ward said: "I'm praying that you win then."
Mrs Dhanda declined to comment, but her tweet has been removed. A police spokesman said it would not be appropriate to comment.