Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness has pleaded with the public in the region to ensure they remain sensible as lockdown restrictions continue to ease.

From May 17, the restrictions have again loosened with both pubs and restaurants now able to open indoors to customers, as well as other businesses such as cinemas and museums also now able to re-open.

However, Ms McGuinness, who was recently re-elected as the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, has asked everyone to continue to remain vigilant as rules again change.  

“Things are looking up as Monday (May 17) brings the easing of restrictions that many have longed for," said Ms McGuinness.

“I am thankful to the vast majority of people in our region who have understood the need for the measures and followed them.

“I am also thankful to Northumbria Police, which through-out the challenges, has always been a Force keen to get the balance right while ensuring laws have been adhered to.

“None of this has been easy for anyone but public safety has always been the top priority, and will continue to be.”

Labour’s Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner also went on to explain how she will try and ensure that the force will continue to ensure both the rules are followed as well as ensuring crime around the region is also dealt with in the best possible way.

“Looking ahead, as your Police and Crime Commissioner, my focus is clear. Our region needs to ensure that the easing of restrictions does not lead to a rise in crime,” she added.

“Work supporting our communities and the most vulnerable has never been so important and the prevention work led by my Violence Reduction Unit, fighting and preventing crime, has a huge role to play supporting Northumbria Police.

"While it’s great to see life open back up, it’s important we keep doing the things that help us stay safe – washing hands, keeping your distance, especially in light of the new variant of the virus that has reached the UK.”

Ms McGuinness also explained that the public should continue to work with the police as the restrictions are set to further ease over the next few weeks.

“Things may be improving but there are still rules in place and our police are there to police them – doing their job to help keep people safe,” said Ms McGuinness.

“And remember, the easing of restrictions may be a little unnerving for some, and so we need to be mindful and respectful of this.

“So, enjoy taking steps closer to normality, but do so with care so we don’t undo all the progress we have made.

“Let’s focus on the future and let’s help the North East come out of these difficult times stronger than before.”