NEW figures showing a two per cent increase in crime in Gwent reflect "actual" crime levels in Gwent.

That's according to police and crime commissioner Ian Johnston who said he's happy with the direction the force is taking over crime recording.

Back in May 2013 the PCC threw doubt over published crime stats - saying police may not have been recording crimes properly in a bid to lower crime figures.

But it appears that the PCC has now dropped his concerns over the issue, which had led to a public row with the former chief constable Carmel Napier.

As reported by the Argus today, violent offences recorded by Gwent Police rose by more than a quarter in 2013 while overall crimes rose by two per cent.

The percentage rise in violent crime was the highest in England and Wales, and Gwent was the only force in Wales to record a rise in crime.

Mr Johnston said: "I believe the report announced today accurately reflects the ‘actual’ levels of crime here in Gwent.”

He said: "I am more concerned about the quality of service the public receive than numerical targets. As a result, I have started to see a number of changes in the way the police force is delivering its service here in Gwent which includes a complete move away from the emphasis on targets and numbers that has driven policing in the past.

"The feedback I’ve received from members of the public about the positive change in attitude of police officers when dealing with crime has been very encouraging. With the move away from numerical targets, the indication is that the public in Gwent now believe there has been a refocus on the quality of service provided to them.

"Since the Chief Constable [Jeff Farrar] conducted an internal review into crime recording last year, it has made it perfectly clear to everyone in the force that ethical and accurate crime recording is essential to provide the public with confidence in the service and I’m happy with the direction the force is now taking."