Essex Police dealt with nearly 14,000 Covid-related incidents in last year

The burglars took drills, airguns, a wallet and keys from the home in Hitcham Picture: ARCHANT

Essex Police said officers have had to adapt to changing circumstances - Credit: Archant � 2005

More than 1,000 fines and 50 arrests were made by Essex Police in the last year following Covid-related incidents in the county.

A year has passed since the first national lockdown was introduced to slow the spread of coronavirus in the UK, with people told on March 23 2020 to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives. 

However, it wasn't until three days later - on March 26 - when England was legally put under lockdown and the rules were enforced by officers.

Essex Police said that from March 26 last year to February 28 this year, they attended 13,765 incidents which were directly related to the virus. 

That is around 7% of the incidents the force attended over the past 12 months, with 194,754 visits in total. 

Officers also arrested 59 people on suspicion of Covid-related incidents during the same time-frame. 

Since April 1 last year, 1,242 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) were given to people in Essex for Covid-related offences, which included non-essential travel, house parties and other illegal gatherings.

One incident involved police attending a house party of around 30 people in Colchester in February. 

Around 20 people ran off when officers arrived. However, a further 11 who remained inside were issued with fixed penalty notices (FPNs) for breaching the lockdown regulations.

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A spokesman for the force said: "Our officers and staff have had to adapt to the challenges of the past 12 months, the same as everyone else.

"As you can see, the vast majority of people in Essex have stuck to the Covid regulations and united to help to keep everyone safe from coronavirus."

The vast majority of people appear to have been happy with the way Essex Police has dealt with incidents - although in a recent survey, 1.7% of people said they felt Essex Police has been too tough when policing Covid regulations. 

Officers said they have continued to take a common sense approach to policing the guidelines by engaging, explaining the regulations and encouraging people to do the right thing.

Essex Police said it will continue to respond to clear and blatant breaches and, where they occur, officers will work with their partners to resolve them.

Report Covid-19 breaches on your nearest police force website and check the latest rules here.