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Meet Amii, 29, a Police Officer with Northumbria Police.

Amii Stewart

16.02.2021

Amii's Diary

Amii is joining the call to the North East for us all to keep doing our bit to #BeatCovidNE.

Working with communities as a neighbourhood PC to help keep them safe - and Covid transmissions down - is a big part of Amii’s job.

Amii’s very close to her family and when her grandmother passed away in September last year, like lots of people who have lost loved ones during the pandemic, she found it incredibly hard, especially with the reduced numbers at funerals.

Watch Amii’s video and find out more about her story.

25.03.21

“I love my job. The last 12-months have been unprecedented but I’m proud to have been able to serve to protect my community.”

Amii Stewart is a 29-year-old Police Officer with Northumbria Police covering North Shields in North Tyneside. She works with communities as a Neighbourhood PC to help keep them safe and Covid transmissions down - which is currently a big part of her job.

“I’ve been busy this week. I’ve handed in my last postgraduate diploma assignment. It’s been a labour of love but I’m looking forward to a study break.

I’ve also completed my second week at the Secondary Investigation Unit (SIU). This department deals with interviewing suspects and building files for court proceedings. As a Neighbourhood PC, it’s been a great opportunity to broaden my skill set and work with the Crown Prosecution Service.

While work is always busy I do feel lucky to be on the frontline as a Police Officer. I love my job. The last 12-months have been unprecedented but I’m proud to have been able to serve and protect my community.

I never thought I’d live through something like this in my lifetime. Unfortunately, so many haven’t made it. My granny passed away in September last year. I only saw her through the door when I dropped off shopping until she was in the hospital at the end. Not being able to give her a cuddle was heartbreaking. Like so many others, losing a loved one is one of the hardest things I’ve faced.

My fiancée losing her job, her being seriously ill with Covid and us having to cancel our wedding have also been huge challenges. I can’t thank her enough for her support and optimism throughout the pandemic. No matter what, she always makes me smile.

When faced with these challenges it’s made me realise how important it is for me to take a step back and to relax. Staying home has forced me to rediscover enjoying my own company. Something I never made the time for pre-Covid.

Being bubbled with my grandad during lockdown has been brilliant. I’m so glad I’ve been able to help him with his shopping, to go for walks and be there for him especially after my granny passed away. He’s keeping well and is looking forward to his second dose of the vaccine.

I’d like to thank my colleagues for all of their support. We’re a close-knit team with lots of banter that keeps us going through the day. While we have as a force been affected by Covid, just like everyone else, together we stand as one.

I’ve enjoyed being a part of the BeatCovidNE campaign because it has felt like a positive movement. I’m so proud of how the North East has come together to fight Covid. We’ve achieved so much in 12-months.

Thank you for following the rules. Thank you to all of the key workers, everyone who has worked and those that have had to stay at home. Thank you to all of the volunteers supporting local communities and the NHS.

I urge everyone to continue being selfless. The vaccine is amazing but it’s not a cure. We need to keep protecting the NHS and saving lives with each step we take out of lockdown. Hands, face and space is a small price to pay for summer with our loved ones. Let's make it possible.”

18.03.21

“We must remember that the number of people in hospital with Covid is still very high in comparison to the first wave. As we follow the roadmap out of lockdown, it’s important that we don’t jump the gun.”

“With the schools being back life feels a bit more normal now. Of course, things aren’t the same. My son has to wear a mask in the classroom and the school’s strict Covid rules are still in place.

I’m also testing him twice a week at home with those lateral flow tests. I know the test isn’t the nicest thing to do but it’s so important. Not only does it help keep children in the classroom, but it also helps to reduce the spread of Covid. If one week my son tests positive, I know that by keeping him home for 10 days I am protecting lives. I am doing my bit for our local community and preventing someone from potentially needing hospital treatment.

It only takes five minutes to do the tests and doing them reassures me that he’s not carrying Covid. Through regular testing, I’m protecting his friends, his teachers and their families. We are doing our bit to break the chain in transmission. He's not too fussed about the mask wearing as long as it means he’s back in school, learning and being with his mates. They’ve missed out on so much.

With the next stage of lockdown seeing the return of outdoor organised sports and meeting as a group of six outdoors, it’s easy to let our guard down. If you and five friends do meet for a walk along the coast or around your local park please make sure that you don’t just pop back to one of their houses or vice versa for a cuppa. Mixing indoors is still not safe.

By following the rules, you’re protecting the NHS. Your actions are saving lives. We must remember that the number of people in hospital with Covid is still very high in comparison to the first wave. As we follow the roadmap out of lockdown, it’s important that we don’t jump the gun. The death rate has fallen and while the vaccine is starting to have an impact, the main reason for this is because we’re sticking to the rules.

The government has said all along that we need to be driven by the data, not by dates and I agree with that. The best way to ensure we remain on the path to normality is by sticking to the rules as any regional spike in infections might set us back a step which, at this stage, we desperately don’t want.

Remember what the Prime Minister said; the whole point of the roadmap is that it’s cautious but irreversible. If we want to keep moving forwards, we need to accept that regular hand washing, mask wearing and social distancing has to be part of our everyday lives.”

18.03.21

“Throughout the pandemic just like everyone else we’ve been impacted by the death of colleagues. The virus affects us all.”

Amii Stewart is a 29-year-old Police Officer with Northumbria Police covering North Shields in North Tyneside. She works with communities as a Neighbourhood PC to help keep them safe and Covid transmissions down - which is currently a big part of her job.

“I’ve now received my first dose of the vaccine. I went to the Centre of Life in Newcastle and the process was seamless. Everyone was really friendly and happy to answer any questions. When I got the vaccine I hardly felt anything and it was done. 

Before the pandemic, as well as being a Police Officer, I supported families by assisting with day-to-day household tasks and shopping. The families I support have received their first vaccines and in my work capacity as a personal assistant for them, I’ve now received mine.

After getting the vaccine I felt fine. I went for a walk with my fiancée and my grandad, who we are bubbled with. During the night however I got pins and needles in my feet. I felt weak for about one day afterwards. I spent most of the day drinking Lemsips and resting up. After that I was fine. It's nothing to worry about.

I’m so glad to have received the vaccine. I can now return to being a personal assistant for the families I support. It also means I’m helping to protect my grandad as he waits for his second dose.

At work, I’ve joined the Secondary Investigation Unit (SIU) for two weeks and I’m loving it. This department deals with interviewing suspects and building files for court proceedings. As a Neighbourhood PC I don’t deal with the Crown Prosecution Service on a day-to-day basis so doing placements like this helps to improve my skills. The SIU is of particular interest to me as I want to become a detective.

As well as work, I’ve been studying for my postgraduate diploma and I am currently working on my final assignment. I’ve enjoyed studying but it's been intense. After I finish my probation in July, I’m going to take a short break from studying before working towards becoming a detective.

Reflecting on a year working on the frontline I wanted to touch on how Covid has impacted the police. Day-to-day we’ve adapted to new ways of working and taken on new responsibilities but like every other blue light service, the virus has affected us on a personal level too.

The force is a reflection of society. Although we wear a uniform we are vulnerable too. When you’re a police officer it’s said you have blue blood. It means that we’re all family locally, nationally and globally. If one of our colleagues at home or abroad passes away we all mourn their death. Together we stand as one.

During Covid, that’s never been more true. Throughout the pandemic, just like everyone else, we’ve been impacted by the death of colleagues. The virus affects us all. 

Despite facing these losses we have and we will continue to serve and protect. There are not many other jobs in the world where every day you put your uniform on and put your life on the line to protect your colleagues and the public. We know the risks when we join the force and are proud to serve our country.

Throughout the pandemic, Northumbria Police has provided mental health support in addition to what’s available on a day-to-day basis. Communication has been the key and knowing you can reach out for help.

As a police officer I know I can always speak to my supervisors as they operate an ‘always open door’ policy to provide support and advice when you need it. There’s also peer management support on offer, post-shift debriefs and you can be auto-enrolled after a particularly hard shift or case to a programme of tailored support from counselling to therapy sessions. It’s reassuring to know support is always on hand if we need it.”

11.03.21

“We want to work together so come June so we can all enjoy the freedom we once had, safely, with our loved ones and not at the cost of any more lives.”

Amii Stewart is a 29-year-old Police Officer with Northumbria Police covering North Shields in North Tyneside. She works with communities as a Neighbourhood PC to help keep them safe and Covid transmissions down - which is currently a big part of her job.

“It’s been a busy week both at work and at home. The good news is that I’ve received my vaccination appointment. This is so I can return to a role I did previously, outside being a Neighbourhood PC.

Before the pandemic, I supported several families by assisting with day-to-day household tasks and shopping. The families I support have received their first vaccines and in my work capacity as a personal assistant for them, I’m now due to receive mine.

I’m looking forward to supporting them again alongside my role as a Police Officer, as I enjoy being able to give something back and have a positive impact on someone's life. 

The bad news is my fiancée and I have decided to cancel our wedding at this time, due to not being able to have full capacity, however we will still go on our honeymoon to the Amalfi Coast next year. After already rescheduling the wedding once and while restrictions are being eased the whole process has become more stressful than exciting. It was a hard decision but it's the right one for us. We will get married but after we’ve had some time to relax.

With Mother’s Day around the corner, once again during lockdown, my fiancée and I are organising flowers and cards to be delivered to our mams. It’s a classic combo but it’s the perfect alternative for when we can’t see them.

While it’s been a week of ups and downs at home, booking to attend Easter Sunday service at my local church felt fantastic. I can’t wait to go back and see everyone again. It will be different because of the measures in place to ensure the church is Covid secure but I am looking forward to attending Sunday mass again. It brings me peace of mind and feels like a step towards normality.

Work has been busy. On top of my daily duties as a Neighbourhood PC and supporting the Covid task force I’ve been leading preparations for Operation Coastwatch in North Tyneside. The annual operation, which covers the North East, operates alongside other organisations to tackle antisocial behaviour and protect local communities during the summer months.

Operation Coastwatch allows us to proactively engage with the public, in particular young people, to prevent issues before they arise. We are able to issue dispersal notices and take further action where required.

We aren’t there to catch people out. We simply want everyone visiting the beach to be respectful. You’re not just visiting the coast, you’re visiting someone’s home. Please treat it with the care you would show your community.

As part of my preparations, I have patrolled the beaches along the coast. While the majority of people are sticking to the rules others have commented, “We can meet-up with people in a few weeks so why not now?” Checking we’re all following Covid restrictions is relentless work. Knowing some are bending the rules is disheartening.

I appreciate people feel frustrated and are keen to 'get back to normal’ but we can’t do this if we jeopardise the steps we need to take to ease lockdown.

Another spike will lead to the dates being pushed back. No one wants this, especially those who have been working to help fight this. We want to work together so come June we can all enjoy the freedom we once had, safely, with our loved ones and not at the cost of any more lives.”

04.03.21

“We’ve already lost so many loved ones. Let’s not undo the work we’ve put in so far to risk the lives of our families and friends who we want to see again in June.”

Amii Stewart is a 29-year-old Police Officer with Northumbria Police covering North Shields in North Tyneside. She works with communities as a Neighbourhood PC to help keep them safe and Covid transmissions down - which is currently a big part of her job.

“I returned to work this week and it’s been busy. Getting back into the swing of things and seeing my colleagues again has been great after staying at home for so long. Taking a break is important, and I loved spending time with my fiancée and grandad, but I love my job and it feels good to be back.

As well as my day-to-day responsibilities as a Neighbourhood PC I’ve been assisting the Covid task force. The task force operates during overtime responding to Covid incidents within the local area. I’d like to thank the public for supporting us in protecting our local communities. Your vigilance helps to ensure everyone is following lockdown rules.

The majority of Covid breaches we attend can be resolved by engaging with the public. This is a testament to the work everyone is doing. However, when we do take action, this is always to ensure the safety of the wider community.

This week we have taken advantage of the warmer weather with walks along the coast with the family dog Bumble, a King Charles Spaniel, who has thoroughly enjoyed herself! It has really lifted our spirits too.

I can’t believe a year on we have a lockdown roadmap. When I watched the Prime Minister’s announcement I couldn’t help but feel cautiously excited. I honestly thought that this year was going to be a write-off. While the roadmap’s dates may change, due to the data, just knowing there are steps in place to ease ourselves out of lockdown is reassuring.

I turn 30 in September and I can’t help feeling excited about the prospect of being able to celebrate with family and friends. My fiancée and I are also hoping that if all goes well we can still get married this year. It feels like we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I hope having dates and steps to work towards will help motivate everyone to play their part in easing ourselves out of lockdown. With each step, we need to take responsibility for our actions to ensure we can keep moving forward and learn to live with Covid.

We’ve already lost so many loved ones. Let’s not undo the work we’ve put in so far to risk the lives of our families and friends who we want to see again in June.”

25.02.21

“While going forward lockdown restrictions are going to be eased, my plea for the North East is to please, keep on going, keep on fighting.”

Amii Stewart is a 29-year-old Police Officer with Northumbria Police covering North Shields in North Tyneside. She works with communities as a Neighbourhood PC to help keep them safe and Covid transmissions down - which is currently a big part of her job.

“After self-isolating at home recently and not experiencing any symptoms, I’ve been able to enjoy a week of annual leave. February marks the anniversary for me and my fiancée and I wanted to take some time off to celebrate at home. We’ve loved spending quality time together. I surprised her with a bouquet made out of cookies - flowers are lovely but the cookies were delicious!

We also got to spend time together with my grandad who we are bubbled with. Because I drive, I usually pop by his after work but it was lovely to all catch-up together and enjoy a brew. Looking back on the pandemic so far this is the longest I’ve had off for a while. It’s been a much-needed break. Day-to-day I’m working, studying for my postgraduate diploma, working overtime and helping out my grandad. I never stop. So it’s been nice this week to take a step back.

That said before I booked my annual leave I put my name forward for the Covid task force. The task force operates during overtime responding to Covid incidents within the local area. I’ve also done a shift assisting the security staff at Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, in Cramlington as well as a shift responding to Covid related incidents in North Tyneside which did involve issuing a fine for a party. When we respond to reports of Covid breaches our aim is always to engage, understand the situation and explain why it’s crucial to follow lockdown rules. In some cases though, action is necessary to protect the wider community.

When it comes to the North East’s response to Covid I feel immensely proud of what we’ve achieved so far. Not only have we led the way with the vaccine but as a region, we’ve come together throughout the pandemic. When I’m out and about on duty or getting the weekly shop I can see how everyone is playing their part to reduce the spread of the virus.

It seems likely that the lockdown restrictions are going to be eased soon, but my plea for the North East is to please, keep on going, keep on fighting. Covid has changed our lives forever and realistically we’re going to have to learn to live with it. Hand sanitising, wearing masks and giving each other space is now the new norm. Like everyone else, I want to see my family and enjoy my freedom but is keeping-up our approach to hygiene so bad? It could help not only curb the spread of Covid but other viruses and improve our overall health and wellbeing.

This week I’m planning on returning to a role I did previously, outside being a Neighbourhood PC. Before I joined Northumbria Police I was involved with the charity Disability North.

Prior to the pandemic, I supported a number of families by assisting with day-to-day household tasks and shopping. I loved it, as it allowed me to give something back and have a positive impact on someone's life. 

The families I support have now received their first vaccines and in my work capacity as a personal assistant for them, I’ve been asked if I would be happy to have the vaccine myself. When I was asked, I said yes right away. I’m just waiting for my vaccination appointment.”

18.02.21

“I know it can be frustrating, I have personally found it challenging so I do understand - but we must all do what we can to help prevent the spread of the virus.”

Amii Stewart is a 29-year-old Police Officer with Northumbria Police covering North Shields in North Tyneside. She works with communities as a Neighbourhood PC to help keep them safe and Covid transmissions down - which is currently a big part of her job

“Unfortunately I’ve been self-isolating this week so I’ve been working from home. It’s my second time self-isolating as my Fiancée had Covid in December. Not seeing my grandad who we are bubbled with has been especially hard as I usually check-in with him every day.

I know it can be frustrating, I have personally found it challenging so I do understand - but we must all do what we can to help prevent the spread of the virus.

All key workers, such as the police and others in public-facing roles, have a heightened risk of coming into contact with the virus. It comes with the nature of working on the frontline.

I know that all key workers are following the strict Covid guidelines so we can continue to support people across the North East. I’d like to remind everyone, whether you're using public transport or heading to the shops, to continue to follow lockdown rules - to protect yourself, key workers and all of our families.

My Fiancée has stayed in the house while I was isolating, to ensure we were doing all we could to protect our local community. Usually, I get the weekly shop but instead, we ordered online. It made me realise how we take for granted that we can just ‘pop to the shops’. For some, it’s not that easy especially during the pandemic.

There are several charities across the North East offering support with things like shopping, including VODA in North Tyneside. For those who can shop I urge you to please continue to be vigilant. Keep trips out to a minimum and, if you can, ensure you are abiding by the rule of one person per household when entering a store. Not only does it help stop the spread of the virus but it also helps protect retail staff and their families.

When I found out that Captain Sir Tom Moore had passed away I felt sad. What he did for the NHS was truly inspirational and his fundraising will have impacted so many lives affected by Covid. He will leave a lasting impact on the country thanks to his determination and love for life. Thank you Captain Sir Tom Moore.

Despite self-isolating, I am feeling positive as Covid cases and hospitalisations are now on a downward slope. It’s great to see the impact of the tremendous work of everyone involved in the vaccine roll-out. I am so proud of what we have achieved so far. My grandad has already got a date for his second vaccine which he is really pleased about.

While hope is growing for a future where we learn to live with the virus, right now we have to keep fighting. There’s no knowing if there will be another peak given the new variants. We have to remain vigilant - to help protect the NHS and to save lives. Let’s not take this progress for granted, let's push to beat Covid.

Keeping your guard up is especially important as it's February half term. My plea to students, parents and carers is to please stay home and to stay local. We all have to take responsibility for our actions. I know it's tempting to jump in the car for a coastal or woodland walk and to meet up with friends but we’re not out of this yet. Please help protect the North East and the reopening of our schools.

Living through the pandemic, there are things I’ve learned which I actually want to continue doing from now on. The key one is slowing down. I’m one of those people who ‘never stops’. I’m never again going to take for granted the things I used to do or the people I’d spend time with. That said, I’ve found I also enjoy just taking time for myself. It sounds simple but I’ve come to realise how important it is.”

11.02.21

“The next day her husband got in touch thanking me for saving her life. It meant a lot to me and it’ll stay with me for the rest of my career.”

Amii Stewart is a 29-year-old Police Officer with Northumbria Police covering North Shields in North Tyneside. She works with communities as a Neighbourhood PC to help keep them safe and Covid transmissions down - which is currently a big part of her job

“This week I’ve been responding to Covid breaches. Some turn out to be neighbourly disputes but others can be gatherings or house parties. When we arrive we always engage with people to understand their situation and to explain the rules first.

We appreciate everyone has different circumstances and we often use our police discretion to inform rather than enforce. However, we do impose fines when people are knowingly or repeatedly breaking lockdown rules. As police officers, we have to support the safety of our community and the North East as a whole.

When responding to breaches, I’ve met people who believe Covid is a hoax and we’ve also been called to instances of anti-Covid graffiti. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but it’s important to understand that people are dying every day from this virus. We need to protect one another and not put our communities at risk.

Responding to Covid breaches is just one part of my role. Daily, my colleagues and I speak to Covid testing and vaccine site staff to ensure there are no issues. We also provide support to Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington. As a Neighbourhood PC day-to-day, I also deal with safeguarding issues from supporting domestic violence victims to working with repeat victims to identify vulnerabilities and offer them referrals and any other assistance they may require.

Whilst on shift, we often see people at the worst times of their lives. As a police officer, it’s about looking at that person’s circumstances. People are often sad, angry or hurting. Yes, we deal with crime but day-to-day we look at that person’s needs, intervene to ensure their safety, as well as those around them and, more often than not, provide support rather than enforcement.

Being able to make a positive difference to someone’s life is what I love about my job. Often people only see the uniform but when I’m able to build a rapport with someone and they see me for who I am - that’s the best feeling. There are a few jobs that’ll stay with me for that reason.

One of these jobs was when I was simply being there for a lady experiencing a mental health episode whilst at Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, in Cramlington. I stayed with her, talking and reassuring her until she was ready to be seen. The next day her husband thanked me and said I had saved her life. It meant a lot to me and it’ll stay with me for the rest of my career.

I feel it’s important to come out of lockdown at the right time for the right reasons. I know we’re all feeling fatigued but we need to remain cautious. I’m hoping when the Prime Minister announces plans to ease lockdown we’ll have seen the impact of the vaccine rollout. I want to return to normal but honestly, I think learning to live with the virus is going to be our best way forward.

While we can only stay at home, I’m looking forward to celebrating Valentine's Day with my fiancée. It also happens to be our anniversary. I’m a romantic. While we can’t go out or away for the weekend I’m planning a romantic meal in, with flowers and balloons. I also want to thank my fiancée for supporting me throughout the pandemic. She’s always cooking amazing meals or surprising me with a cake - she always keeps me smiling.”

04.02.21

“Our approach is always to engage first with people not following the rules, understand their situation, challenges and explain why the rules are crucial. At the end of the day, we’re all human.”

Amii Stewart is a 29-year-old Police Officer with Northumbria Police covering North Shields in North Tyneside. She works with communities as a Neighbourhood PC to help keep them safe and Covid transmissions down - which is currently a big part of her job.

“I had a change of scene this week working overtime at Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington. We support the hospital’s security team and mainly deal with patients who abscond. It was nice to meet and talk to different people. I’ve also been working on my Post Graduate Diploma through Police Now which is an independent social enterprise, supported by the Home Office. I’m always wanting to learn more. As a police officer, there’s always new laws, policies, guidance and best practice to stay on top of.

While I’ve been busy, I’ve still kept up-to-date with the latest Covid updates and when the Prime Minister announced we’d reached the 100,000 milestone of Covid deaths, I felt awful. It’s not just the 100,000 lives. It’s also those who are left behind. The families, friends and communities affected by their deaths.

We have to be selfless. It’s not about feeling invincible. These grim figures reflect the truth of the situation. Covid affects us all. It’s not a case of ‘rules are there to be broken’. To save lives, please stay home.

For those of us like me not able to work from home, it’s important to keep our guard up at work too. I’ve heard of a few workplaces where there have been small outbreaks recently, and I can see how it might be easy to relax a bit at work and forget that social distancing applies there too - we have to remain mindful. You’d never forgive yourself if a colleague became ill.

I know the Prime Minister’s promise to explore the potential relaxation of some measures next month is giving some people hope. Right now, I feel we all need to keep our guard up. We need to work together to take extra precautions and stay vigilant whatever happens as I don’t think any of us want to see another horrendous milestone. Covid is affecting people in so many ways in terms of employment, financially, homeschooling and their mental health. I want more than anything to help my community but it’s important we take a cautionary approach.

I’d like to thank everyone for staying home. I couldn’t imagine not being able to do my job as I love it. So when I think of people juggling homeschooling, who are on furlough and those who are living alone, the day-to-day impact of Covid hits home. That’s why whenever we’re called to a Covid incident I bear in mind everyone’s circumstances are different. Our approach is always to engage first with people not following the rules, understand their situation, challenges and explain why the rules are crucial. At the end of the day, we’re all human.

I was delighted when my grandad got his vaccine appointment and extremely proud that North Tyneside has now vaccinated 20,000 people. A much needed positive milestone. I can’t wait for the weekend to take him to get it. The vaccine gives us hope but I realise it doesn’t mean we can mix outside our bubble once he’s had it.

This week I helped a family member with the family tree for my granny’s family in Northern Ireland. It’s over 100-pages long which I can’t believe and I’m looking forward to sharing it with everyone. I’ve also been supporting my friend Jess. She lives and works in Canada but recently her mum in London became extremely unwell. Jess flew back before Christmas to take care of her and we’ve been staying in touch each week. It’s heartbreaking I can’t see and help her but she always knows I’m at the end of the phone.”

29.01.21

“The vaccine is amazing but it isn’t a cure. We have to focus on helping to reduce the spread of the virus.”

Amii Stewart is a 29-year-old Police Officer with Northumbria Police covering North Shields in North Tyneside. She works with communities as a Neighbourhood PC to help keep them safe and Covid transmissions down - which is currently a big part of her job.

This week Amii reflects on a busy week at work and home, her thoughts on the vaccine roll out and an unexpected family revelation.

“Work has been really busy this week. Morale has still been high and my team are great at helping to keep all of our spirits up. While it’s been busy it hasn’t necessarily been because of Covid. My role covers various things including safeguarding issues as well as working with the community. I do this job to help people. I feel extremely lucky that throughout the pandemic I’ve been able to serve my local community. Now we’re nearly a month into the third lockdown, I'd like to thank people for staying home. I know it’s tough but you’re doing a great job.

When I’m home my fiancée and I have been working through the arrangements for our wedding in May. Now Christmas has been and gone it feels so close and we’re keeping our fingers crossed everything will go ahead as planned. But if things change, we’ve been together for 11 years and engaged for eight of them, so we can wait a little longer if necessary. Our dresses have been hanging up in the spare room for over a year now but we still need shoes. Then we have friends planning on coming over from the USA and Canada so have been speaking to them about how things might work.

I’ve also been helping my fiancée to become self-employed. She, unfortunately, lost her job when the third lockdown came into place. She has used Christmas and the new year to work on creating her own business. I’m chuffed for her. It’s exciting to think what the future holds when lockdown lifts.

A huge surprise this week has been my granny’s family from Lurgan, Northern Ireland, reaching out to me. It’s been such a lovely feeling especially during this time to find out I have more family than I first thought. My granny always talked about family in Northern Ireland but we never knew much about them. After hearing she had passed away they’ve reached out so we can build a family tree. It’s been fascinating learning about my family's past. I’m looking forward to making the trip to meet everyone one day.

In terms of the vaccine, it’s unreal what has been achieved so far. As my grandad falls into the new category to receive the vaccine we’re hoping it won't be long until he receives his letter. It’ll be a huge relief to know that he has been vaccinated. That’s not to say we’ll change how we’re acting. It’s still crucial for us all to remain cautious and follow lockdown rules. The vaccine is amazing but it isn’t a cure. We have to focus on helping to reduce the spread of the virus. Especially as the death rate keeps rising. When I read the figures I think of the thousands of families affected. It is those left behind I feel for as one person’s death can affect family, friends, colleagues and whole communities. Acting like we all have the virus is the best way to ensure we can all see our loved ones again. Sooner hopefully.

Thinking about the future I’m sure like everyone in January I’m thinking about where they could go on holiday. For me apart from my honeymoon in Amalfi, Italy (fingers crossed!) I’ll be looking to visit my friends in London. We’ve been chatting about our favourite places to eat and for me, it has to be Lalibela, an amazing Ethiopian restaurant. Just thinking about being in a restaurant again with friends makes me smile.”

21.01.21

“I know from talking to the communities I work with how tough some people are finding this third lockdown. People feel sad, upset and anxious because they can’t see their loved ones. While there’s a lot we can’t control, we can protect each other.”

Amii Stewart is a 29-year-old Police Officer with Northumbria Police covering North Shields in North Tyneside. She works with communities as a Neighbourhood PC to help keep them safe and Covid transmissions down - which is currently a big part of her job.

This week Amii shares how she’s finding lockdown three, the changes at work to help keep everyone safe, the ongoing impact on her family, how she’s coping and her hopes for the future.

“I’d like to start my diary this week by thanking everyone for staying home where possible. I know from talking to the communities I work with how tough some people are finding this third lockdown. People feel sad, upset and anxious because they can’t see their loved ones. There’s also worry about just how long it’s going to last, especially now there’s a new strain. While there’s a lot we can’t control, we can protect each other. By acting like we might have the virus, whether that means shopping once a week or staying within your local area, we can help the NHS and save lives.

My working life remains fairly constant, but I have noticed this lockdown a few changes which I think reflect the seriousness of the situation.

At work, for instance, to help prevent the spread of the virus we’re further limiting the number of people in each room. This has meant my team is now split in two and sitting in different offices. There are also small things we’re doing like making sure we’re preparing our own drinks and eating separately on our breaks. We’re all staying vigilant and doing what we can to protect our colleagues.

Personally another change this past week is that my church has decided to close during lockdown. I’m going to miss it as whenever I’ve had a hard day or stressful week I always feel calmer when I leave the church. While there are no services I’m going to take the time to find new walks in our local area and we’ve got the beach nearby which despite the cold weather is always a great way to clear our minds.

But all of the congregation understand that it’s for the best and we’re like one big family. Several of the older members of the congregation have now received the vaccine and feel more positive about the future.

For me and my family, this third lockdown is tough, perhaps tougher than the last two, because we still can’t see each other. Just recently my uncle passed away and his funeral was in a different area so we were unable to attend due to Covid restrictions. I have quite a big family and if it wasn’t for lockdown we would have all driven down to join the rest of the family and his friends in paying our respects. Life goes on, but you sometimes feel like you are missing important life moments because of Covid and that is sad.

That said, instead of dwelling on what we can’t do right now, we’re planning what we’d like to do in the future. For me, it’s to hug everyone. It’ll be my colleagues first because, despite the challenges of lockdown, they’ve done their best to keep everyone smiling and safe.

I’m also excited to be able to travel again. To jump in the car and go somewhere else other than work or the supermarket. London would be my first go to - I used to live there and I’ve got friends still living there who I’m looking forward to seeing again. But for now, we can dream and plan, and know that with the vaccine, eventually there will be a way out.”

14.01.2021

“We now know 1 in 3 people who have Covid don’t have symptoms. You might feel ok but when doing the food shop but you never know who around you might have underlying health conditions - we’ve got to keep sticking to the rules for all our sake.”

Amii Stewart is a 29-year-old Police Officer with Northumbria Police covering North Shields in North Tyneside. She works with communities as a Neighbourhood PC to help keep them safe and Covid transmissions down - which is currently a big part of her job.

Amii lives with her fiancée and has bubbled with her grandad, Derek, in his late 70s, who she speaks to every day and gets his shopping for him each week, as he’s vulnerable.

After a very different Christmas Amii shares how she feels about the third national lockdown and her hopes for 2021.

“Christmas Day was lovely. Only having one day to mix did come as a surprise but we’d planned to only see family on Christmas Day with it being the key day. We went overboard on presents for our nieces who we saw in the morning and afterwards we celebrated with my grandad. It was a smaller celebration than normal as we’re a big family but it was safe and still very special.

“Like many over Christmas, I saw on the news how the figures were increasing every day and so the new lockdown didn’t come as a surprise. I know it’s tough, really tough, but as things are worse than last March, something had to be done.

“As a key worker, life will pretty much be the same for me during this lockdown, but for both my fiancée and my grandad it will be very different. We’re expecting my grandad to receive a shielding letter and unfortunately due to the pandemic, my fiancée has recently been made redundant which is tough.

“Usually, my grandad would spend time at his allotment to get out of the house and my fiancée would be at work. Now they’re both going to be stuck in the house alone and I’m conscious of helping them look after their mental health.

“As a couple, I’m going to make sure we go out for walks and on the days I can’t visit my grandad, due to work, I’ll make sure to video call him, as we talk every day. For me, I’m going to make time to switch-off. I’m the type of person who always has someone to see or something to do. I recognise I need time to recharge either reading, watching the latest Netflix crime drama or ringing family to stay in touch.

“We must all keep in touch with loved ones. To check-in and see how everyone is doing, listen and support them. To those by themselves or not too sure who to talk to, reach out to a charity - there’s so many from the Samaritans to Mind who are on hand to offer help and support when you need it. You’re not alone in this.

“Personally, the news about the vaccine is encouraging and positive. But it’s going to take time to roll out and so the news about the new strain is worrying. It’s vital we all do our bit to protect one another by acting as if we’ve got the virus so we don’t accidentally spread it. We know 1 in 3 people who have Covid don’t have symptoms. You might feel ok but when doing the food shop you never know who around you might have underlying health conditions, we’ve got to keep sticking to the rules for all our sake.

“This year I’m looking forward to getting married. Everything was booked and ready for the big day back in June 2020 but we’ve been really lucky to rearrange for May this year. We’re both hoping it goes ahead but if things change we know it’s for the best and we’ve been together for 11 years, and engaged for eight of them, so we can wait a little longer if necessary. When we do finally get to celebrate it’s going to be amazing. I honestly can’t wait.

“I know right now it feels tough. We’re all feeling mixed emotions but this won’t last forever. There is going to be an end if we work together. I want to thank everyone who can for staying home and those on the frontline for continuing to support and protect us. Let’s not jeopardise the hard work we put in over Christmas and the new year. We’ve got to keep going together as a region.”

24.12.2020

“I hope everyone has a lovely break. We all deserve to celebrate but please do stay safe so we can all enjoy another Christmas together next year. I’d also like to thank everyone in the North East for doing their bit to help keep the virus at bay during the festive season. If we continue to work together hopefully this will be the only Christmas we spend apart.”

Amii Stewart is a 29-year-old Police Officer with Northumbria Police covering North Shields in North Tyneside. She works with communities as a Neighbourhood PC to help keep them safe and Covid transmissions down - which is currently a big part of her job.

Amii is bubbled with her grandad, Derek, in his late 70s, who she’s seen most days since the beginning of the pandemic. Derek lives just a 10-minute drive away from her house and each week she gets his shopping and makes sure he’s keeping well following her granny’s passing in September.

Here she shares how Covid-19 has recently affected her family and her plans for a very different Christmas this year.

“I’m doing well at the moment. Work is busy but I love my job and to be honest, I’m looking forward to Christmas. Everyone in the station, as well as my family, is feeling festive. With everything that’s going on at the moment, it’s something we can all still enjoy.

That said, my Mam has Covid-19. She’s a carer and is tested each week through work, but some of the residents have fallen ill and she has had a positive result. So she’s currently isolating at home with my Dad. She is doing well but isn’t used to being at home and is finding that hard. She just wants to get back to work, to look after her residents, but she knows how important it is to isolate until she gets the all-clear.

It is so important if you have symptoms to get tested and if you test positive to self-isolate. Covid-19 affects us all differently and I appreciate if you have mild symptoms it can be frustrating self-isolating but you are saving lives. By staying in you’re not risking passing it onto others who could become seriously ill or die as a result. If I tested positive I’d be gutted as I’d still want to work. But the thought that I could pass it onto my grandad, who wouldn’t be able to fight it off like me, really brings home how serious this disease is.

I’ve got a big family on both my and my fiancée’s side so Christmas for both of us, just like so many other people across the North East, it’s going to be very different. Although three families can meet under the relaxed regulations we’re conscious that we’ve bubbled with my Grandad.

So the plan is to spend half of Christmas Day with my brother-in-law and our nieces and then the other half with my Grandad. We’re going to invite my grandad over to celebrate the New Year and hopefully he agrees! It’s going to be our first Christmas without my Granny, which will be hard on us all but I’m going to light a candle and say a prayer for her, so she knows she is still in our hearts at this time of year.

This Christmas I’d like to ask everyone to stay vigilant. Now is our chance to change things for the better in 2021. I’d also like to ask everyone, especially during this time of year, to stay in touch with those you can’t see. No one should feel lonely this Christmas as there are so many ways to keep in touch. 

I hope everyone has a lovely break. We all deserve to celebrate but please do stay safe. If we continue to work together, hopefully, this will be the only Christmas we spend apart.”

18.12.2020

“My granny passed away in September. Not all the family could come to the hospital and see her in the end, which was really upsetting. At the funeral, we had to observe Covid restrictions which only allowed 10 people to attend. It was very hard.”

Amii Stewart is a 29-year-old Police Officer with Northumbria Police covering North Shields in North Tyneside. She works with communities as a Neighbourhood PC to help keep them safe - and Covid transmissions down - which is currently a big part of her job.

Amii lives with her fiancée who she is hoping to say ‘I do’ to in 2021 after postponing her wedding due to Covid-19. With a large family in North Tyneside not being able to see them has proven to be difficult for Amii, just like so many others, during the pandemic.

Here she shares how Covid-19 and months of tough restrictions have affected both her working and everyday life.

“I think our job has got a little bit harder in terms of managing the Covid-19 restrictions and rules. And in my everyday life, it has prevented me from seeing my friends and family, just like it has other people.

Like everyone, we have to wear masks at work, so when you are dealing with the public it feels much less personal, which is a negative for me. I’m a neighbourhood officer, I care about my community and I want to be able to chat to them and get to know them, the mask makes that harder. But we all have to observe social distancing to keep the virus at bay, there is no way around it.

My granny passed away in September. Not all my family could come and see her in the hospital at the end, which was upsetting. At the funeral, we had to observe Covid restrictions which only allowed 10 people to attend. It was very hard.

I wanted to be part of this campaign, and keep a diary because I care a great deal about the North East community. It’s where I live and work and helping communities is why I chose to become a police officer.

Christmas will be hard for everyone, I know that. Because the rules are relaxed slightly it is tempting to bend them. But I worry about the consequences of that in the new year. We have all done so much to slow the spread of the virus, especially over the second lockdown. I don’t want to throw all that sacrifice and hard work away for 5 days at Christmas. Only three households can mix and I really hope people do the right thing and stick with that.

I want to thank everyone who has done their bit so far and ask them to keep going. Especially I want to thank all the other emergency workers, not just the police. All the postal workers, cleaners, shop workers, everybody who is trying their best through this time. If we can just keep going - keep washing our hands, wearing our masks, keeping at a distance, not household mixing - I think we will get there in the end and we will beat it together.”

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