Drastic action must be taken to address the officer retention crisis which is sweeping the police service, according to Staffordshire Police Federation chair Lee Robinson.

Home Office figures show record numbers of officers are quitting their jobs with disillusionment over pay and conditions cited as the main reason for the amount of departures.

But Lee said poor morale among officers was also playing a major part in many people’s decisions to leave.

He said: “It is clear by the number of officers leaving or planning to leave that something had to change.

“The Government has to take this crisis seriously and develop a proper long-term recruitment and retention strategy because otherwise we are looking at boom and bust in terms of recruitment for the foreseeable future.

“Policies such as the Police Uplift Programme will start to look a bit like a sticking plaster solution if the same number of officers are leaving the service as those who are joining.”

Lee said leaders had to ensure policing was an attractive career choice with people feeling valued, respected and recognised for the difficult jobs they do.

He said years of real-terms pay cuts had affected officer morale and left members feeling undervalued and had also led to the departures of many experienced officers.

“The long-running pay issue has also had a massively negative impact on policing in terms of officers morale but also in terms of recruitment and retention,” he said.

“We acknowledge that public confidence in policing is low at the moment and that is having an impact on the morale of our members, the vast majority of whom are honest, hard-working men and women who serve their communities with determination and professionalism.

“But despite increasing workloads and added pressure, many feel they are often unfairly criticised and painted in a negative light by the media and some politicians and this plays a big part when some good, experienced officers decide to leave.

“Unless drastic action is taken to address this issue we will continue to see a revolving door when it comes to recruitment and retention and that is bound to hamper the efficiency of the service we can deliver.”

Home Office figures revealed more than 9,000 officers left the English and Welsh forces between April 2022 and March 2023 with a total of 4,668 officers resigning voluntarily.

This is the highest number since comparable records began 16 years ago and shows a 32 per cent increase on the 3,533 who resigned from the service in 2021/22.

Staffordshire Police saw 58 officers resign voluntarily in the 12 months to last March, according to the figures.

A further eight retired on medical grounds during the same period and 92 took normal retirement.

Some 22 officers transferred to another force while two officers were dismissed,  taking the total number of leavers to 181.