As we enter the second lockdown it’s a crucial moment in the North East’s fight against Covid.

The reasons why we need to stay home haven’t changed. We need to protect our NHS and we need to save lives, and your police force will enforce the rules with those who refuse to follow them.

I am thankful that the vast majority of people in our region have understood the need for the measures imposed so far, despite the poor communication from Government. I am also thankful to Northumbria Police. It goes without saying that renewed restrictions do place enormous strain on all our emergency services, who keep doing a great job rising to the challenge. None of this is easy for anyone.

When it comes to imposing the rules, our officers are keen to get the balance right but I make no apology for tough enforcement being used when it comes to keeping the people of our region safe. Public safety is priority.

Anyone responsible for holding parties or organising large gatherings are quite simply causing deliberate harm. Those attending these events need to be aware that they may be diverting officers away from other important actions, making it harder for the police to keep us safe.

Whether you’re supportive of the idea of a lockdown or not, the more we adhere to the rules, the more things will improve and the sooner we will all be out of restrictions. The message is simple, save the parties for when this is all over – then we’ve really got something to celebrate.

So in the meantime, I’ll continue calling for clarity on what happens after lockdown is lifted.  Let’s all keep doing out bit to protect each other – our family, friends and community. A lockdown isn’t worth having if we don’t all adhere to it. We’ve got a way to go yet but together we can help our great region get the virus under control.