Over 600 drivers stopped in Warwickshire during national campaign to target drink and drug drivers
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Warwickshire Police officers have stopped over 600 vehicles during a national campaign to target those driving under the influence of drink or drugs during the festive period.
During the month long campaign from 1 December 2020 to 1 January 2021 all front line officers including Patrol, Safer Neighbourhood Teams, Vehicle Crime Teams and Operations Policing Unit worked together using police powers to stop and test drivers they suspected of drink or drug driving.
The intensive effort by all front line staff resulted in a total of 619 drivers being stopped by officers, and 471 breath tests and 36 drug wipes being completed.
Drivers were stopped and tested for a variety of reasons - 403 drivers were stopped and tested for Moving Traffic Offences such as failing to give way at a junction.
Forty-nine drivers were tested for drink and/or drugs after being involved in a road traffic collision as part of the police investigation.
Twenty-five drivers were tested when officers suspected they may be driving under the influence of alcohol and 21 drivers were tested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs.
As a result, a total of 44 people were arrested including 19 drivers following a positive breath test, and 21 drivers following a positive drug wipe test. 2 drivers were also arrested on suspicion of being unfit through drink or drugs after being found asleep in a vehicle in the road with the keys in the ignition.
Two other drivers were arrested following a road traffic collision after failing to provide a specimen when officers suspected they were driving under the influence of alcohol.
As well as risking death or serious injury to themselves, drink or drug drivers also put others at risk. One of the arrests involved officers following a stolen van that had failed to stop. When tested, the driver provided a roadside sample of 81 when the legal limit is 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath. Another driver provided a sample over 55 with his 3 young children in the vehicle at the time and as a result appropriate safeguarding referrals were made by officers.
Assistant Chief Constable Alex Franklin-Smith said “The roads remained busy for most of December and the tremendous effort by all front line staff to make our roads safer during the current pandemic cannot be underestimated, as a quarter of all deaths on roads can be directly attributed to drink or drugs.
“It is disappointing that the operation led to the identification of so many irresponsible individuals who think it is okay to continue drink or drug driving and we will continue to encourage all front line officers to use police powers to stop and breath test drivers to continue to drive the message home that Warwickshire Police will do all it can to keep our roads safe for all to use”.
Warwickshire Police would like to thank all those members of the public who reported the details of suspected drink drivers to us over the Christmas period. Several arrests were made as a result. As well as detecting offenders, the campaign provided the opportunity to engage with the public to educate drivers around the dangers of drink and drug driving.
Being arrested on suspicion of drink or drug driving may come as a shock for many people. You will be taken into police custody. Your photo will be taken. Further tests will be conducted to assess your alcohol level. You are likely to spend the night in a police cell until you are sober. In some situations you may end up being interviewed by a Police Officer. If tests find you are over the limit you are likely to be charged and given a court date, where at court you are likely to lose your driving licence. You could be imprisoned, banned from driving and face a fine.
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe added: “It is disappointing that so many motorists still believe it is acceptable to drink under the influence of alcohol and drugs, particularly given the numbers that are identified after collisions have taken place. Thanks however should go to the officers on patrol who have been able to identify and arrest others as they have been driving around the county, helping to remove these dangerous drivers from the roads.
“It only serves to reinforce that road safety needs to remain a major priority and reducing road casualties will continue to be one of the key priorities in Warwickshire, with the support of my Road Safety Fund.”
IAM RoadSmart is also highlighting the hefty financial penalty motorists could face as the consequence of a drink drive conviction. They calculate that the personal financial cost of drink driving could be as high as £70,000 when taking into account fines, legal fees, higher car insurance premiums, alternative transport costs and potential loss of earnings following conviction. https://www.iamroadsmart.com/campaign-pages/end-customer-campaigns/drinkdrive
Warwickshire Police has also been publicising arrests made over the Christmas and New Year period for drink or drug driving as part of their push to change people’s behaviour and reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on the county’s roads. Please visit the news section of our website www.warwickshire.police.uk for arrest details.
Follow us on Facebook @WarwickshirePolice and Twitter @WarksPolice @OPUWarks #MoreDrugsThanDrink #Dontdrinkdrive
For more information about the campaign click here