Custody units need to be better staffed if officers are to be protected in their role, Staffordshire Police Federation has warned.

Wayne Martin, the Federation’s Custody Lead, called for more custody officers to be recruited after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that another 20,000 bobbies would be funded for the service.

Wayne said: “The main issues facing custody are about those three words: demand, capacity and welfare. However you want to pick it apart, it’s all about that. The increasing demand, with limited capacity, and how we look after not just the people that come into custody, but also really importantly how we look after our staff, our officers and our civilian employees.”

Wayne was speaking at the Police Federation of England and Wales’ Annual Custody Seminar in Hinckley, Leicestershire, where representatives from across the country said they were concerned about officers being overwhelmed.

He said: “These are the crucial issues now and going forward. As Ché Donald, PFEW’s National Vice-Chair, pointed out, even if we recruit another 20,000 officers over the next three years, and that’s an ‘if’ and there’s a lot of logistics that come with that, with the natural wastage, as he’s pointed out, we’re losing 20,000 odd over three years. So we need to recruit more. It’s all about demand and capacity, which leads onto welfare.”

The conference also heard from the Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody and the Independent Custody Visitors’ Association, as well as from the Met on its pioneering DIVERT trial which has seen significant reductions in reoffending.

Wayne added: “It was a fantastic event that highlights the exceptional work that goes on in the custody suites across the country. But it has also highlighted the issues that officers in the police family face on a daily basis in custody.”