THE new police and crime commissioner's role for Gwent could be unworkable and a "train crash waiting to happen" with Gwent's Chief Constable, a hustings meeting for candidates was told.

And there were fears that turnout in gwent could be under 15 per cent of voters.

Three of the four nominations for Gwent spent two hours debating the role in front of 100 people at the St Michael’s Centre, Abergavenny, on Thursday night.

They were asked if one person could adequately represent all 560,000 people living in the area, from Newport to rural Monmouthshire and the north Gwent valleys.

Independent candidate Ian Johnston, who spent 33 years as an officer in Gwent, replied by saying: "It’s a train crash waiting to happen between the chief constable (Carmel Napier) and the commissioner. It’s not been thought through properly, is not a good policy.

"The commissioner will be the best person to limit the damage for the people of Gwent."

Labour candidate , Usk-based solicitor Hamish Sandison said: "I’ve put doubts forward whether it is doable". He said the key will be partnership working with the Welsh Government and Gwent’s five local authorities. The role will bring a wage of around £70,000, but with a low turn-out expected for voting on November 15, candidates were asked if this serves democracy properly.

Ex-civil servant and Conservative candidate Nick Webb said: "It is a concern as the mandate is larger than most MPs, but some estimates suggest the turn-out will be under 15 per cent."

Mr Webb wants to prioritise minor crimes and "nip in the bud" small offences that lead to bigger ones. But, with budget cuts, he said more stations could close in order to get more officers on the streets, saying: "Buildings don’t arrest people and make people feel safe."

Mr Johnston said politics should be kept out of policing, saying he has the "experience, passion and knowledge of Gwent" to succeed. He said he will be able to ask the tough questions needed.

Mr Sandison said he would put "more bobbies on the beat" and work closely with local authorities to tackle alcohol and drug misuse and anti-social behaviour by providing opportunities for youngsters.

INDEPENDENT candidate Chris Wright was not able to attend the meeting, but a statement was read out from the former officer who spent 30 years in uniform.

He said the key is ensuring the needs of different communities are met, with community policing continued and crime reduced.