As part of Northamptonshire Police’s Christmas drink and drug drive campaign, officers across the force carried out more roadside tests than in previous years – resulting in an increase in arrests.
Over the past month, officers conducted 2552 breath tests which is an increase of 66 per cent on 2018, when 1798 were carried out. While the number of roadside drug wipes rose by 90 per cent from 20 to 38 respectively.
The rise in the number of roadside checks is a direct result of the increased patrols and the various operations held across the Force throughout the festive period to tackle drink and drug driving offending over the festive period.
During the campaign, a total of 84 motorists were caught behind the wheel while under the influence of drink or drugs. Sixty-seven were charged with drink driving, and 17 were arrested for failing a roadside drug test, pending the results of blood tests.
This was a small increase of 24 and 30 per cent respectively from 2018, when a total of 67 drivers were arrested and charged with drink (54) and drug (13) driving related offences.
Chair of the Northamptonshire Safer Roads Alliance (NSRA), Chief Superintendent Mick Stamper, said: “As a county-wide partnership, our main priority is to improve road safety through education and enforcement, which targeted campaigns such as this enables us to do.
“The increase number of breath tests and drug wipes carried out throughout this campaign, is testament to the hard-work of all our officers, who are committed to improving road safety across the county.
“Every year we warn people of the dangers of driving under the influence of drink and drugs, yet there are still some who selfishly and recklessly choose to ignore us - not only putting their own lives at risk, but those of innocent road users.
“I’d like to thank the vast majority of people who did the right thing and only drove when sober and would urge everyone to continue to do so as just because the festive season is over, it doesn’t mean we will stop reinforcing this message.”
As part of the campaign, all those charged with drink driving were publicly named on the Northamptonshire Police website and its social media, which included two drivers caught on Christmas Day and eight on New Year’s Day.
PC Dave Lee of Northamptonshire Police’s Safer Roads Team, said: “Those people caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs over the festive period are starting 2020 facing driving bans, hefty fines and in some cases, prison sentences.
“As a police officer on the roads, I have seen the devastating effects drink and drug driving can have. It only takes one second to have a collision which can not only change your life but the life of an innocent bystander and their family.
“Just because the festive season is over, we will continue to focus on the fatal four offences – which are speeding, drink-driving, not wearing a seatbelt and using a mobile phone at the wheel – throughout the year.”
To report suspected drink or drug driving in confidence, call the Drivewatch Hotline on 0800 174615 or dial 101. In an emergency, call 999.