A RETIRED senior policeman who investigated high-profile murders in the 1990s is to throw his hat into the ring to run for Gwent Police and Crime Commissioner.

Ian Johnston who served in all ranks from constable to chief superintendent in Gwent Police, says he can't see how someone without police experience could do the job.

He is intending to stand as an independent candidate in the Gwent Police and Crime Commissioner election on November 15.

Mr Johnston, who served in all ranks from constable to chief superintendent, was head of CID in Gwent between 1995 and 1999 and was awarded the Queen's Police Medal in 2003.

As senior detective he dealt with numerous high profile murder cases - including the case of Tyrone France whose remains were found in Wentwood Forest.

The retired policeman said he opposed the creation of the commissioner role from the outset, and there was a danger police would become too close to politicians.

"I think that someone who is standing on a party political ticket will have to serve their political masters in the Assembly or Westminster," he said.

He added that it would be "very difficult for someone with no experience of the police" to do the role. "I honestly can't see how they can do it," he said.

The retired officer who says he has been given private encouragement from "prominent politicians, but obviously they are not going to go public".

He said issues he intends to address include opening hours and access to police stations, standards of dress, politeness and manners.

Asked if he would reverse police station closures, he said: "I would ensure that necessary consultation takes place so the public are informed of the process."

Mr Johnston was chief superintendent at Blackwood covering the counties of Caerphilly and Blaenau Gwent between 2001 and 2004, and also served as chief superintendent at Pontypool covering Torfaen and Monmouthshire.

He took up a national role as vice-president of the Police SuperintendentsÕ Association of England and Wales in 2004, becoming president in 2007 before retiring in 2010.

* Welsh Labour is expected to announce the party's candidate for Gwent Police and Crime Commissioner today.

Two men - Josh Worrad and Hamish Sandison - are in the running for the candidacy.

The UK government wants to replace police authorities with elected commissioners who will set the force's budget and hold it to account.

Retired policeman Chris Wright is intending to stand as an independent while Ron Davies has said he is interested in the role.