POLICE call handler Emily Lund will be picking up extra shifts at work this summer after having had to put off competing in national dressage and show jumping competitions because of coronavirus.

The 23-year-old, who works at Northumbria Police's busy contact centre, has been riding horses since she was six and had hoped to scoop several prestigious awards this summer with Krista – her 15.2 hands Appaloosa-Arabian cross-breed.

However, due to the unprecedented measures put in place by the Government to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, Emily won’t be going any further afield than the stableyard near her family home.

She said: “It’s a shame not to be competing this years as I was looking forward to getting stuck in and seeing how Krista performed.

"But some things are much more important and some people are a lot less fortunate than me.

“I’m trying to focus on keeping healthy and see Krista when I can. It’s really important for me in my line of work that I have a release. Horse riding helps me do that and is just a way of escaping and letting my mind shut off from the day – everyone needs the ability to do that, especially now.

“We take distressing calls day-in, day-out but you never deal with the same thing twice. If something happens we are always the first to know about it, we’re the front-line.”

And it’s not just answering calls which makes Emily indispensable to us – last year – she used her specialist skills to help us capture three horses that had escaped and were on the loose on the Felling bypass.

Emily was asked by her line manager to head to the scene and help officers lure the animals to safety – which she succeeded in doing – with the help of some wine gums.

She added: “You really never know what your next day at work will bring. It’s very challenging right now, and we’re all pitching in to make sure that those vulnerable people are getting the help and support they need.

“I totally understand that people want to go out and live their lives and continue on as normal, but please, continue to stay home and help us to save lives.”

People can help Emily and her colleagues by contacting the force through its website to report non-urgent incidents rather than phone 101. This will help when our phone lines are busy, so they can respond to the most vulnerable.