MORALE among police officers in the region has dropped amid increasing workloads and treatment of the police as a whole, a report has shown.

Police officers in Cleveland had the worst morale in the region, with 65 per cent of officers feeling demotivated at work.

In North Yorkshire, the figure was slightly better, but still over half, 53.2 per cent, felt demoralised, while in Durham 60.2 per cent were suffering from low morale.

More than 14 per cent of Cleveland police officers were planning on leaving the service within two years, compared with 7.6 per cent in North Yorkshire and 5.9 per cent in Durham.

The figures, released by the Police Federation of England and Wales yesterday, prompted Cleveland's Chief Constable Iain Spittal to call again for the Government to fund salary increases for officers, after lobbying the Police and Fire Minister in July.

He said: "Locally I have seen, first hand, the pressure my officers face on a daily basis. I am committed to working with the Police Federation to try to improve their experience in the workplace."

Nearly 85 per cent of rank and file officers surveyed in the Cleveland area said low morale was due to how the police were treated as a whole.

Andrea Breeze, chief executive of the Cleveland Police Federation, said: "These figures give an insight into how Cleveland Police officers feel and should make the public of Cleveland reflect on how they treat police officers.

"With budget cuts have come fewer officers, diminished resources and increasing crime."

In Durham more officers than in any other force area, 85 per cent, felt their workload had increased the last year, with 75 per cent saying it was too high.

Kevin Wilson, secretary of Durham federation branch, said this was felt to be the true picture behind the force's "oustanding" rating by police watchdog the HMIC, with officers working so hard they were"utterly exhausted and demoralised".

He added: "Reducing budgets have seen reducing officer numbers, with 26 per cent less in Durham since 2010, the second highest in the country.

"At the same time both demand and the remit of policing have grown, diminishing our resources and causing crime to increase as we warned it would."

In a statement Durham Chief Constable Mike Barton, said: “We are very proud to be the number one performing force in the country and recognise this is down to the continued efforts and dedication of all our officers and staff.

“They regularly go the extra mile to ensure we provide the best possible service we can to the communities we serve and make Durham and Darlington safe places to live and work.

“There’s no doubt that our staff feel the strain, especially when additional expectations are placed on our resources from other sectors. This includes when we have to look after vulnerable members of our society who are not always victims of crime.

“When it comes to the investigation of crime and the level of demand this places on the force, the public expect and deserve bad people to be arrested and dealt with appropriately.

“What I need to do is to ensure our staff are looked after.”     

In North Yorkshire, 64.1 per cent of officers reported increaed workload, with 52.7 per cent saying it was too high.