A survey has laid bare plummeting police morale in Dorset's force in the past year.

The Police Federation of England and Wales said police officers are reaching "breaking point" and leaving the service due to pay and work conditions.

The PFEW's pay and morale survey, carried out in September and October last year, shows 21 per cent of the 194 officers in Dorset Police who responded, said they were planning to leave the service.

About five per cent said they intended to resign from the force within the next two years and 16 per cent stated they are already looking for other employment.

Altogether, the rate is almost double that in the previous survey in 2021, when 11 per cent of officers said they were planning to resign.

Nationally, 18 per cent of respondents said they intended to resign within two years or as soon as they could.

Steve Hartshorn, PFEW national chair, said: “Police officers are reaching breaking point and are leaving the service in their droves as every element of their pay and conditions has been gradually eroded in the space of a decade."

Mr Hartshorn added over 8,000 police officers left the service in England and Wales in the year ending March 2022 – the highest number of leavers since comparable records began.

He said about 1,800 officers who joined under the Government Uplift Programme have already resigned.

Of Dorset Police officers who said they were planning to leave the job, the main reasons cited for leaving the force were how police are treated by the government (90 per cent) and their morale (81 per cent).

The survey also showed 64 per cent of the area's officers said they had a low or very low level of morale - equal to levels in 2021.

Additionally, 98 per cent said they do not feel the government respects them and 79 per cent said they do not feel respected by the public.

Jo Mosley, Director of People and Support Services at Dorset Police said: "The pay and morale survey from the Police Federation of England and Wales is extremely important to us as it helps us measure the health and wellbeing of our police officers and allows us to reflect on how we can continue to support and invest in them.

"We are committed to investing in the health and wellbeing of our workforce through training and development and in leadership so our line managers feel better equipped to help police officers, staff and volunteers to manage the significant pressures they are under.

"The sample size of the survey was a comparatively small cross section of our workforce (14% (194 respondents) so it is vital we also work to capture the thoughts of our officers who did not respond, as well as other officers and police staff colleagues who were not able to take part in this particular survey.

"Dorset Police is made up of amazing people and we are committed to working to make improvements for our entire workforce who work so incredibly hard as they strive to make Dorset the safest county. Their wellbeing and morale is vitally important to ensure they are able to perform the great job that they do every day in being tough on crime, putting victims first and keeping people safe."