Furloughed Newcastle boss Dean Richards is putting his period of unpaid leave to good use, volunteering for his local police force during the coronavirus pandemic. The ex-England No8 was a formerly a police officer before moving into full-time rugby back in the 1990s.

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He has now turned back the clock during virus outbreak that prematurely terminated the Championship season and left Newcastle promoted through use of a ‘best playing record’ formula. 

After notifying Northumbria Police of his availability to help, 56-year-old Richards has joined the force’s resilience unit, assisting in the preparation of hundreds of pieces of personal protective equipment for use by front line officers in a bid to keep them safe during the crisis. 

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Speaking to the Newcastle Chronicle about his temporary new role ahead of the 2020/21 season back in the Gallagher Premiership, Richards said: “I know that at times like this people need to work together and help in any way they can. Thanks to Northumbria Police for letting me help in a small way, it was my privilege.”

His willingness to offer assistance was lauded by local Superintendent Helena Barron. “Dean swapped his baton for a rugby ball years ago but will always be part of the wider police family and we thank him for his help in these unprecedented times.”

Northumbria Police are looking for other people like Richards to help out, calling on any ex-officers, volunteers and police staff to apply on the force’s website.

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