'PROTECTING life' will still be prioritised despite how significant Covid absences may get for Cumbria Police.

A spokesman said the force was less impacted by Covid absences than others after it was revealed the national rate for officers and all staff, across all of UK policing, stands at 9.4 per cent.

A spokesman for Cumbria Constabulary said: "Here at Cumbria Police, whilst we are not as significantly affected as some other organisations and businesses, we did experience a rise in officer and staff absence at the beginning of the New Year.

"However, this picture has improved over the past week, which is welcome news.

"We can assure the public that however significant the impact of absences is, protecting life, emergency response and the safeguarding of the most vulnerable members of society will be continue to be prioritised.

"Whilst we remain in a positive position and are able to police the county effectively, we would encourage the public to take a moment to consider their options before reporting non-emergency matters.

"Please always consider first whether the police are the correct agency to report your issue to and, where possible with non-emergencies, please report online at cumbria.police.uk/reportit

"Always call 999 in an emergency and where a crime is in progress."

Officers across the UK have been thanked for their service and protecting the public from harm during these difficult times.

National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for Operation Talla, Assistant Chief Constable Owen Weatherill said: “We’re constantly monitoring absence rates across policing, which are not currently impacting on our ability to provide a normal service to the public.

“We have plans in place to manage the impact of the Omicron variant, and best use of PPE has been vital in ensuring absence rates stay within manageable levels, protecting officers when they're out and about in public.

“On behalf of all forces, I’d like to acknowledge that work and thank all officers and staff for their firm resilience and for going above and beyond in 2021, as they do every day in keeping the public safe from those who seek to cause harm."