Northumbria Police’s assistant chief constable, Neil Hutchison, made his comments a year on from the first introduction of lockdown measures and urged everyone to continue sticking to the rules.
He said: “It has now been a year since the first national lockdown and we all continue to make sacrifices, most notably when it comes to contact with our loved ones.
“Your efforts are working. Combined with the vaccination programme they are driving infection rates down and savings lives.
“Government restrictions and guidance remain in place and it continues to be very important that everyone keeps to them to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.”
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He added: “I am immensely proud of how officers, staff and volunteers continue to go above and beyond to provide the very best service possible.
“I also want to thank our fantastic communities for the support they have given and say how grateful we are to the overwhelming majority who continue to follow the restrictions.
“From the outset, we have been very clear about how we would approach policing the regulations and will continue to apply discretion and judgement when engaging with the public.
"However, if anyone shows a blatant disregard for the rules we will not hesitate in taking appropriate action to protect the wider community.
“We want to urge everyone to adhere to the rules as this will mean resources are not diverted to deal with circumstances that can easily be avoided.”
“Your support is very much appreciated, never taken for granted, and certainly makes a difference.”