GWENT'S Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) expects to see the area's recorded crime rise "in the next 12-18 months."

Ian Johnston told the Argus in May he was concerned officers were not classifying incidents correctly and consequently, recorded crime statistics did not give a true picture of what was happening on the streets.

He denied he was accusing anyone of "fiddling the books" but said it was down to the interpretation of incidents and "police have a large degree of control over what becomes a crime and which incidents are recorded as a crime."

His claims drew a strong response from then chief constable Carmel Napier, the first public indication of discord between the two.

A couple of weeks later, the Argus revealed that Mrs Napier, appointed in January 2011, was to retire and that Mr Johnston had requested she leave or he would start a formal process to remove her.

Mr Johnston yesterday told the Welsh Affairs Committee, in Cardiff to question Welsh PCCs about their role: "As a member of the community in Gwent, I expect our recorded crime to increase in the next 12-18 months."

Llanelli MP Nia Griffith quizzed Mr Johnston about what consultations he had with Gwent's Police and Crime Panel (PCP) before issuing an ultimatum to Mrs Napier, and what disciplinary actions he had been instigating against the chief constable prior to a May 23 meeting at which he requested she leave.

He said there was no ultimatum, that being "a word the local media picked up on" and he had not spoken to the PCP prior to May 23 as he would have been in breach of the law.

"During the formal process (to remove the chief constable) there is a role for the PCP, but not before," he said.

Mrs Griffith asked Mr Johnston when the committee could see documents relating to instructions from Mrs Napier - mentioned during a home affairs committee hearing last week - that no-one but she was to talk to the PCC.

Mr Johnston said Mrs Napier admitted to that committee that she had issued written and verbal instructions to that effect.

They were issued he said, in his first week as PCC, and were "not a terribly helpful way to go about business."

Mr Johnston admires the 'no surprises' model of working between South Wales PCC Alun Michael and his chief constable Peter Vaughan, because in his first months in the job, "every day there was a surprise."

"I entered the job looking to work closely with the chief constable. Her instruction to staff not to speak to me was not a particularly auspicious start," he said.

Mr Johnston also told the committee he believes Gwent Police jobs will be lost as a result of proposals to cut budgets again, on top of previous reductions.

With budgets already cut by 20 per cent, and with another five per cent in the offing, "staff will have to go," he said.

"That is the reality, no matter how imaginatively we look at it."