GWENT could receive up to 200 new police officers if the prime minister fulfils a pledge to bolster forces across the UK.

Boris Johnson has promised to put an extra 20,000 police officers on the streets over the next three years, as well as giving them extra stop-and-search powers.

The police and crime commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, has “cautiously welcomed” the announcement but said uncertainty remained about how it would be funded.

Gwent Police budgets have been cut by 40 per cent since the Conservatives introduced austerity in 2010, with police numbers falling from 1,501 in 2011 to a low of 1,126 in 2016.

The force has been allowed to boost its ranks to 1,308 as of March this year after Mr Cuthbert took the “difficult decision” to increase the police precept.

He told the Gwent Police and Crime Panel on Monday that “crude calculations” put Gwent’s allocation at “around 200” new officers.

Speaking after the meeting, he added: “We cannot rely on the local council taxpayers to fund these new officers and we are looking forward to more clarity from the UK Government on how these posts will be funded.”

Earlier this week, Mr Johnson vowed to “come down hard” on crime by also announcing an extension of police stop-and search powers and tougher sentences for violent criminals.

An existing pilot project, which allows police to deploy stop-and-search powers in an area without the authorisation of a senior officer, will be extended to cover an additional 8,000 officers in England and Wales.

Mr Cuthbert said: “Stop and search is a powerful crime prevention tool, but it must be used properly.

“I will be meeting with the chief constable soon to discuss what these new plans for stop and search mean for Gwent. It is crucial that we reassure those in our communities who may feel threatened by these proposals.

“We will work closely with our partners and the G10 group to ensure that all understand these changes and its implications for our communities.”