West Mercia Police officers have spoken out during a national conference that highlighted how important it is to support staff with their mental health.

Steve Butler, branch secretary of West Mercia Police Federation warned if ‘officers break, the significance of these breaks is huge’ during this year's conference.

West Mercia officers Richard Hughes and Charlotte Davis told of their experiences during the segment.

“My crime basket is in double figures. It’s stressful to manage,” said Charlotte, “There are pressures surrounding getting the work on the system, then managing what steps to take after, plus you worry about getting the jobs through to the Crown Prosecution Service.

“We also become the point of contact for the victims but don’t get to update them straight away due to the amount of work we have on, or being called to another job.

"You then feel guilty because you can’t see them immediately and they’re relying on you.”

Charlotte explained that as an officer there is always the risk of being assaulted. She explained: “Even the most minimal job can escalate quite quickly.

"Then if you make the decision to arrest the offenders, you know you’re creating more paperwork - not for us, but for colleagues - which means more stress and pressures on their workload.

“It definitely makes you think twice about making the arrest. I’ve been kicked in the back before by an offender at an incident and left it.”

Reflecting on his day-to-day role, Richard said that the stress for him starts from the moment he finds himself rushing to claim a car parking spot to the very end of the day when he goes home.

He continued to tell of the financial pressures, arguing that the cost-of-living increases, while his salary stays near enough the same.

National Federation wellbeing lead Hayley Aley said that ‘even the smallest changes made across the force will have a huge impact’ on the welfare of officers just like Richard and Charlotte.

Looking ahead, Hayley said she hoped to not be sitting here next year, ‘saying the same thing over and over’.

“We’ve only just opened the box, looking at what pressures are affecting officers,” she said, “We need to look at the things that need to change to prevent mental health and the physical issues people are feeling. We need to prevent people from walking away from the workplace because they can’t cope.

“It’s the simple things that need to change, the day-to-day jobs. Those quick changes will have a long-term impact on the organisation.”