Police have said that breaking up Christmas dinners if families breach Covid-19 rules would be a "last resort".

The Epping Forest Guardian asked Essex Police about its stance after West Midlands crime commissioner David Jamieson vowed this week that his officers will investigate large Christmas gatherings.

Essex Police pointed to a comment by the National Police Chiefs’ Council made on the behalf of policing.

The council said the police’s approach is that officers should encourage people to follow the rules in the first instance and enforce at a last resort.

The council added: "We understand that this is a period where people want to be with their loved ones, celebrating this holiday.

"We police against the regulations that are in law, and everybody has their part to play to help protect local communities and loved ones and we are confidence people will adhere to the rules and help us to reduce the risk of transmission.

"The police’s approach remains to engage, explain and encourage people to follow the rules in the first instance and enforce as a last resort, where there are clear breach of rules taking place."

The Mirror reported this week that Mr Jamieson said that if there are big groups of people gathering where they shouldn’t be then officers will have to intervene.

He told the Telegraph: "It’s not the police’s job to stop people enjoying their Christmas.

"However, we are there to enforce the rules that the Government makes, and if the Government makes those rules then the Government has to explain that to the public."