This week we’ve seen a significant change to the Government’s Covid-19 restrictions.

The Rule of Six came into effect on Monday and it is a change which I know will have caused concern and frustration amongst some people.

This new limit on gatherings will undoubtedly mean the cancellation of birthday parties, family get-togethers and social engagements.

I completely recognise the impact the changes to the rules will have on us all.

As well as being a Chief Constable I am also a member of the public, a father-of-five, a husband and a son.

Seeing our friends and families is so important to us all and I recognise this has now changed how we can live parts of our lives.

For my family, as a household of five, the new rules mean we will need to make choices and limit any visitors to either a single friend or a single relative.

But it is clear that the recent rise in Covid cases cannot be ignored, and the Government hopes this move will stop the need for a second lockdown.

The focus has once again shifted to the role of the police in enforcing these measures and I know there are people out there looking to us to lead the way.

However, this isn’t something which can be done by the police alone – we all have a part to play in stopping the spread of Covid-19.

During the lockdown period, our day-to-day demand dropped to unprecedented levels as people stayed at home.

But, we are now back to pre-Covid levels and the pressure is on us to add the policing of these new restrictions to our usual workload and responsibilities.

Policing is done with the consent of the community, and this support and trust of the public we serve, is never more important than it is during a crisis.

So, my plea to you is clear – the enforcement of these restrictions should be a last resort where other efforts to educate the public or engage with those who don’t seem to understand, have been exhausted.

We will work closely with others, such as the local authorities, local businesses and licensees, to share this responsibility and hopefully we will continue to see fantastic cooperation and understanding from our communities.

As we look towards Christmas, nobody wants to see a second lockdown or further restrictions that prevent us from spending the festive period with our loved ones.

So, please, let us all take personal responsibility and ensure we understand and adhere to the rules, so we can all stay safe.