THE Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, is urging people to stay home and stay safe this weekend as the county prepares for another week in isolation.

The plea came as Roger Hirst, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, issued an update to Essex residents following briefings and updates from key officials and public bodies.

The announcement comes after reports that this weekend's weather is set to reach temperatures of more than 20C with bright and clear skies.

Mr Hirst said: "I would like to thank you all for your outstanding contribution so far, adhering to the social distancing guidelines, staying at home protecting the NHS and saving lives.

"It looks as though this is going to be a really good weekend for the weather, sunny and bright, please stay home.

"Essex’s beauty spots, the beaches will still be here after the crisis, it is important that you are too.

"Many of us will already have lost a loved one or someone in our circle of friends within the last week.

"The more we adhere to the social distancing rules, the fewer victims there will be.

"The police do have the powers to enforce, they will be using them appropriately, engaging, explaining and encouraging people to stay home but ultimately, they have to appeal to our good sense, and ultimately, it’s down to us how this plays out.

"Please go beyond the legal requirements, avoid contact as much as you can, don’t wait to be asked."

Mr Hirst also took the opportunity praise Essex council's for their efforts in protecting the most vulnerable and appeal for more businesses to come forward to supply PPE.

He added: "A big piece of work led by our councils over the last week has been the identification of the most vulnerable, and working with the NHS, Essex County Council, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and Thurrock Council have now contacted and where necessary provided food and supplies for that group.

"By the way, we still need more PPE. If you are a small business that has supplies please get in contact with those councils and let them know what you have.

"Over the coming week the NHS will also be contacting people over the age of 70, pregnant women and those with underlying health problems.

"That group will also be offered support and the councils have been busy working with volunteers to ensure that support is available to those who need it."

Finally, Mr Hirst also announced a more than 400 per cent increase in coronavirus related fraud.

He said: "Another issue to raise is around fraud. The national organisation Action Fraud, responsible for tackling fraud has reported a 400 per cent increase in fraud related to COVID-19.

"We know that there has been huge increase in activity. Please be careful.

"Keep an eye on Action Fraud’s website, the Essex Police social media channels and through the other social media channels that you trust.

"We are working hard to highlight examples as we become aware of them, but if in doubt please be careful and check with someone you trust before doing anything.

"All the services in Essex are working hard to ensure that we are ready to protect the vulnerable, follow Government guidance and keep our normal services going.

"Keep safe and remember Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives."