A POLICE Federation chairman is standing down and has shone a light on pressures within the force including officers being 'run off their feet' and 'low morale'.

Barry Horton, who has spent almost 20 years in policing, is to stand down as West Mercia Police Federation chair after taking up the role in May last year.

The 44-year-old joined the police at the age of 26 in 2005, working initially for West Midlands Police, working on response, the safer travel team and neighbourhood policing. 

With his final day on Friday, in an interview with the Federation, he has shed light on what is rewarding in the job but also the pressure officers are under.

He added: “In my opinion, neighbourhood policing is the best job there is as an officer.

“Don’t get me wrong, response is exciting but as in the neighbourhood team, you can actually target crime and get to know the community, you can really make a difference. 

“My time there was brilliant. It was when I was on neighbourhood that I experienced my most memorable job - I was supporting a vulnerable male who needed social care support. I ended up locating the male’s estranged son and actually managed to reconnect them - it’s jobs like that which reinforce that cops aren’t just there for crime.”

Just a year ahead of his move to West Mercia Police, Barry spent 10 days working at the NATO Conference in Wales, in 2014.

In 2015, he made the move to West Mercia and spent seven years working in both response and as a detective, in the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

He added: “As a Force, West Mercia is really visible, our response teams are run off their feet.

“And the demand and complexity in CID is huge. You have to manage your workload and manage multiple cases, it blows your mind.

“Each job comes with its own type of pressure and set of responsibilities.”

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Despite it presenting him with the ‘most stress’, Mr Horton said CID has been ‘the most rewarding part’ of his career.

“Working on the most complex and demanding incidents, often to tight timescales and well into the early hours, to protect the most vulnerable is exactly what we all join for.

“In fact, the most recent case I’ve been the officer in charge for involves two guilty defendants and the trial will end on my final day - it almost makes it feel like it’s the right time to say goodbye.”

Mr Horton started supporting his colleagues as a Fed rep in 2018 - having worked in the role during his time at West Midlands.

He added: “I really wanted to give the detectives a voice. The team is short on numbers and short on morale. Personally, I think that detectives feel like they’re sometimes left behind.”

T/Chief Constable Alex Murray said: “We’d like to thank Barry for his work as the Chair of West Mercia Police Federation. The police federation is a key pillar of support for officers on a range of issues and is vital for health and wellbeing in such a demanding role. We wish Barry the very best for his next chapter outside of the force.”