The Summer Solstice is an event with particular local significance here in Wiltshire due to the spiritual importance of the stones at both Stonehenge and Avebury.

Therefore, I understand the disappointment felt by many when English Heritage, who run the site at Stonehenge, took the difficult decision to close the site to the public due to the Government’s ongoing Covid restrictions.

It’s clear that we all have a responsibility to try and keep the virus under control and public safety is paramount to all agencies here in Wiltshire and across the country.

My officers and staff had been involved with the planning of the event in the build up to last weekend and we had resources on stand by to intervene if people ignored the warnings and still tried to hold their own celebrations at either of the sites.

Thankfully, the vast majority of people heeded our advice and changed their plans accordingly – with many staying at home to mark the occasion in their own way.

Although we had to close part of the Ridgeway near Avebury, for public safety, and there was a minor incursion on the stone circle at Stonehenge around dawn break - this largely passed by without any difficulties and my officers made just one arrest.

I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who respected the decision to close Stonehenge, and understood the reasons why this was necessary.

I know that many of us will have been looking to this summer as an opportunity to finally socialise with friends and family, re-plan all those postponed celebrations and potentially jet off on holiday.

But, the Government has made it clear that we all need to continue to be cautious.

Although the vaccination programme has progressed well, we have seen a rise in cases recently, and the Delta variant continues to cause concern across the country.

Last week the Prime Minister made the announcement that the remaining restrictions needed to stay in place for a few weeks longer.

That news came as a disappointment – I’m sure many of you saw 21 June as a glimmer of hope on the horizon after a prolonged period of uncertainty and disruption in all of our everyday lives.

But, please be reassured that my officers and staff will continue to police the restrictions in a balanced and proportionate way.

We will continue our excellent partnership working, ensuring that all agencies support each other with public safety at the forefront of our minds at all time.

Thank you to all our communities for your ongoing support and, hopefully, there will be brighter news ahead of the next scheduled update in the coming weeks.