Stay safe and have a happy Christmas

It has been another incredibly challenging year for us all.

Just as life was returning to something approaching normality, the rapid spread of the Omicron Covid variant in our communities means life, at least for the next few weeks, remains uncertain.

The quick roll out of the vaccine boosters is very positive but for now please be responsible, follow current guidelines, practise social distancing when required, and listen to the advice from trusted sources such as the Welsh Government, Public Health Wales, health boards and local councils.

Despite the many challenges of the last two years it is important to remember that Gwent continues to be one of the safest places to live, work and visit in the UK. This is confirmed by regular reports from the Office of National Statistics and is something of which I remain incredibly proud.

I must thank Gwent’s dedicated police officers and staff who regularly go above and beyond the expectations of their roles to protect and serve our communities. These brave men and women are often facing real danger on the front line, and for this I say thank you on behalf of the people of Gwent.

I must also recognise and say thank you to our partners in health, fire, local councils, support services and charities who have shared the challenges of the last few years, and who too have been tested like never before.

Finally I would like to thank you, the people of Gwent, for your own efforts over the last year. We have seen fantastic community spirit right across the region and, when I have been out and about in communities, I have been heartened to hear people’s praise for their local police teams. I know that our police officers greatly appreciate this support.

So thank you again, and I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year.