Police in Norfolk are urging people to be “sensible and cautious” as lockdown restrictions begin to be lifted.

The rules around social contact significantly eased on Monday, with  gatherings of six people or two households now allowed outside, including in private gardens.

People are being asked to continue working from home where possible and minimise the number of journeys they make, but the “stay at home” rule also lifted this week.

In a community update on Friday, temporary assistant chief constable Julie Wvendth (pictured) urged members of the community to enjoy “greater freedoms” and the chance to meet others outside.

But she said people needed to continue working together and observe social distancing to make sure Norfolk stayed on track.

“The continued roll-out of vaccinations combined with the impending easing of restrictions offers hope that we are well on the road out of lockdown,” T/ACC Wvendth said.

“However, we must equally acknowledge there will be people who remain fearful about areas of our county being swamped with visitors at a time when social distancing continues to be vital in helping to prevent the spread of this virus. The best way of protecting ourselves and others is to be sensible and cautious. 

“If we all continue to adhere to social distancing guidelines then as a county we will have the best chance of keeping infection rates and deaths low, factors which will be considered at every stage of the implementation of the government’s roadmap plan.”

T/ACC Wvendth said the force’s policing approach “stepped up a notch” during the third lockdown, becoming more robust in dealing with “blatant and persistent breaches”.

“As I’ve always said, our approach to enforcement of the health protection regulations has been a balancing act – making sure we maintain public confidence by dealing with offenders while maintaining our legitimacy, remembering we police with the consent of our communities.

“Naturally, as restrictions begin to ease our policing approach to enforcement will adapt to reflect this,” she added.

“We will continue to follow the well-established 4Es process of engage, explain and encourage with enforcement used as a last resort but wherever necessary.”