The outgoing police and crime commissioner (PCC) for Gwent said the region is “a safer place than when I found it”.

Jeff Cuthbert, who is retiring, has served as the PCC for Gwent since 2016.

Police and crime commissioners are elected to represent the public in policing matters and hold their local force and chief constable to account.

Speaking on Friday to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, shortly before his successor was named, Mr Cuthbert said he was proud to have developed Gwent’s neighbourhood policing teams, invested in more PCSOs, and recruited an extra 400 officers.

“I think Gwent is a safer place,” he said. “There are more police officers and we’ve concentrated on things like helping the most vulnerable in our communities, dealing with domestic violence, and investing in the future.”

Against the backdrop of UK Government policing cuts, dating back to 2010, Mr Cuthbert conceded PCCs have had to increase the proportion of funding they receive from local taxpayers every year.

“The overall funding for Gwent is in two parts – money from the central police grant and then the local precept from council tax payers,” he explained.

“It is that latter point that’s grown year-on-year. When I came into post in 2016, it was roughly 70% to 30%. Now, it’s almost 50-50.”

Former Labour politician Mr Cuthbert said this “significant shift every year” means “local people are paying more and more, and at a time of cost of living crisis, that’s even harder”.

“But it’s my job as commissioner, and my successor will have the same job to do to make sure that sufficient funds are raised for Gwent Police,” he added.

The latter years of Mr Cuthbert’s tenure as PCC have coincided with a difficult period for the Gwent force, including several investigations by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

Mr Cuthbert said it was “reasonable” to question whether such incidents had an impact on people’s trust in the police.

“We often say in politics there is 90% perception and 10% reality,” he added. “I’ve got the advantage over ordinary members of the public, in that I’m dealing with the police almost every day, and I will speak to the chief constable at least once a week.

“We have a whole series of meetings where we hold the police to account, so I know the work that’s going on to deal with [this] sort of incident.”

Mr Cuthbert said the PCC’s office was “not a pressure group” and any cases of alleged misconduct were a matter for the police force to deal with directly – but he said the PCC can play a part in improving standards.

“We want to make sure that our processes on recruitment [and] the understanding the new police officers have will remove some of the bad aspects of previous cultures,” he added.

“Certainly, we will support that… but ultimately it’s a matter for the force itself. But we are very interested in the outcome and we’ll keep an eye on things.”

Labour’s Jane Mudd will succeed Mr Cuthbert as Gwent PCC after winning the election on Friday, with 41% of the vote.