Assistant chief constable Julie Wvendth. Picture: Norfolk Police

A Norfolk police chief has spoken of a “challenging few months ahead” as the country faces more potential tightening of the pandemic restrictions.

Assistant chief constable Julie Wvendth said reports of increased Covid cases across the country had made for “sobering reading”.

In a message to the community on the force’s website, she said the challenges from earlier in the year would now be coupled with the longer, darker nights and changes to the work furlough scheme.

She said the force would need to “work even harder” with its partners to support the community during the winter months.

ACC Wvendth said while some crimes had fallen during the pandemic, the rise in “hidden” crimes,  such as domestic abuse, child sexual abuse and online abuse, was a concern.

“We are working closely with our council and health partners to make sure we have the capacity to deal with these increased reports whilst equally providing reassurance that we are also dealing with blatant breaches of the Health Protection Regulations,” she said.

“I suspect current rules may change and tighten even further in the weeks and months to come and it’s really important you understand that while we always strive to meet the expectations of the public, we have to strike a balance and apply discretion to the situations we are faced with. 

“The next few months will be a challenging time for us all. 

“Our demand has steadily increased back to normal pre-Covid levels which means balancing enforcing restrictions and dealing with crime and hidden harm – not always an easy decision but one we are trying to manage.

“There’s safety in numbers and I truly believe that if we work together, be considerate and understanding of others, we will overcome this challenge,” she added.