People across Essex have been urged to "not mess this up now" as the Easter weekend begins. 

Essex Police Chief Constable BJ Harrington said his officers will be on hand to keep the public safe this Bank Holiday weekend.

As of Monday, people are now allowed to mix outdoors, including in private gardens, in groups of six or as two households.

And although people are understandably looking forward to meeting loved ones for the first time in many weeks, Mr Harrington has issued a simple message to the county, saying: “Please, let’s not mess this up now.”

Mr Harrington said: “The last 12 months have been really difficult. Families and friends have been kept apart and now we have a chance to meet up outdoors again for the first time, in groups of no more than 6 people or two households.

“This Easter bank holiday, officers will be out making sure our County is safe and responding to your calls for help.

“Essex Police officers and staff will be out doing additional patrols to keep you safe but if you spot any clear and blatant breaches of the Covid-19 regulations you can contact us on Digital 101 or by phone.

“We will respond - we have been to over 14,000 Covid-19 incidents in the last year.

“If everyone in Essex keeps playing their part, we will get our lives back to normal and then we can stay focussed on catching criminals – that’s what we are here for, and we know that’s what you want us to do. So, please, let’s not mess this up now.

“Thank you to everyone in Essex who’s doing the right thing, and if you have any concerns, just talk to one our Officers or contact us on 101.”

Throughout the last year, Essex Police officers have attended 14,000 coronavirus-related incidents, issued 1,200 fines and made 59 arrests.