WEST MERCIA Police has the second worst levels of morale in the country, lagging behind only the Met according to a survey.

The figures reveal 95 per cent of West Mercia's officers said their personal morale was low in the annual Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) Pay and Morale Survey.

The force also reported the second-highest figure in terms of not recommending others to join the police (82 per cent, compared to 73 per cent nationally).

A total of 52 per cent of West Mercia officers disagreed or strongly disagreed that they were treated fairly, the third highest level in the country behind the Met and Suffolk Constabulary.

The survey also revealed: 96 per cent of respondents from West Mercia Police said they do not feel respected by the Government; 85 per cent indicated that they had experienced feelings of stress, low mood, anxiety or other difficulties with their health and wellbeing over the last 12 months.

Meanwhile, 78 per cent said they did not feel valued within the police; 70 per cent felt their workload was too high; 56 per cent of officers were unable to take breaks; 47 per cent find the job too stressful; 43 per cent of respondents were ‘dissatisfied’ or ‘very dissatisfied’ with opportunities for training and 48 per cent reported being ‘dissatisfied’ or ‘very dissatisfied’ with the Professional Development Review (PDR) process. Only 11 per cent had access to double crewing.

Steve Butler, chair of West Mercia Police Federation, said: “It is quite shocking to find that West Mercia has the second lowest level of morale in the country, particularly when you consider we are second only to the Met.

“While some of the reasons given for low morale are national issues, such as pay, pensions and the way in which the Government treats the police service, there are also some more local issues, including workloads, work-life balance and opportunities for career development that the Force and our senior officers need to look at.

“The Federation has been saying for some time now that the Government needs to ensure the police service is properly resourced, and that means longer-term funding settlements and sustained investment."

The 2023 survey was launched on November 6, 2023 and closed on December 11, 2023.

During this time, a total of 639 responses were received from West Mercia Police Federation members, representing a response rate of around 26 per cent - based on March 2023 Home Office figures of officer headcount.

The reasons they gave for low morale were: how the Government treats the police (cited by 97 per cent of respondents); how the public treat the police (86 per cent); pay and benefits (83 per cent); workload and responsibilities (71 per cent); pensions (66 per cent); work-life balance (54 per cent), and opportunities for development and promotion (46 per cent).

Over a third (36 per cent) have experienced verbal insults, including swearing, shouting and abuse, at least once a week in the past 12 months, with 13 per cent subjected to unarmed physical attacks, such as wrestling, hitting and kicking) at least weekly in the same period.

Deputy Chief Constable Richard Cooper said: “As someone who cares about the people who work for West Mercia Police, some findings from the survey are difficult to read. Several areas have improved from last year - including morale, fewer people intending to leave, satisfaction with remuneration, and a lower proportion of officers who find the job stressful – but we all want it to be better.

“Society can’t do without policing, and it serves no one for police officers to feel unappreciated and undervalued. It is a vital job, and a noble and rewarding one. We do not underestimate for a second the challenges our workforce face, both with national and local factors, and we are committed to working with the Federation to improve the morale, welfare and job satisfaction of our officers.”