Christmas Drink and Drug Driving Campaign Results | Suffolk Constabulary

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Christmas Drink and Drug Driving Campaign Results

Over 80 people were arrested by police in Suffolk during the annual Christmas campaign highlighting the dangers of drink and drug driving. 

The month-long initiative, which began on Tuesday 1 December and ended on Friday 1 January, ran in conjunction with a UK-wide operation led by the National Police Chiefs’ Council. It saw officers carrying-out roadside checks throughout the day and night, as well as intelligence-led enforcement activity. 
    
In Suffolk, a total of 86 motorists were arrested, with 43 people failing breath tests and 30 people providing positive drug tests. In addition, five people failed to provide a specimen and eight people were arrested for being unfit to drive through drink and drugs. 

During last year's campaign 170 people were arrested, 67 for drink-driving and 76 for drug-driving. In addition, 10 people failed to provide a specimen and 17 people were arrested for being unfit to drive through drink and drugs. 

Temporary Chief Inspector Jon Chapman, Head of the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing Team, said: “While fewer people have been caught drink or drug driving during this campaign, I think we have to acknowledge the coronavirus pandemic is likely to be a significant factor in that.

“With more people working from home the roads were obviously quieter and with the hospitality sector closed during December, there were not people taking unnecessary risks after a night out at a pub or restaurant.

“However, it is disappointing to see that people are still prepared to gamble with their own life and the lives of others. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol impairs your judgement, making your reactions slower and therefore increases the chances of being involved in a collision.

“People should not view this pandemic as an opportunity to break the law. Our officers are still out as usual and will be enforcing the fatal four causes of deaths and serious injuries on the roads. 

“Expect to be dealt with appropriately if you are caught drink/drug driving; speeding; using a mobile phone; or not wearing a seatbelt. The risks are not worth it – you could lose your licence, be arrested, or - in the worst scenario of all - kill someone.”

Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore, said: “I’m pleased to see the number of drivers failing breath tests has fallen this year, it’s just a pity it has taken a pandemic to enable this.  

“However, I do appreciate that many drivers have taken the advice to stay at home and this has had a significant impact on reducing the pressure on the NHS which is good news.

“Unlike many of us who are able to protect ourselves by staying at home, Suffolk Constabulary officers are on duty as usual, putting themselves at increased risk to keep us safe.  Our roads policing officers continue to patrol the county’s roads so please remember if you break the law there is a good chance you will get caught - it’s just not worth the risk.”

Previous release | 1 December 2020

Members of the public are being urged to enjoy the festive season safely and not gamble with peoples’ lives, as Suffolk Police launch their annual Christmas campaign highlighting the dangers of drink and drug driving.  
 
The month-long initiative launches today, Tuesday 1 December and continues until Friday 1 January, in conjunction with a UK-wide operation led by the National Police Chiefs’ Council. It will see officers carrying-out roadside checks throughout the day and night, including early morning checks, as well as intelligence-led enforcement activity. 

The aim is to target irresponsible and dangerous drivers and also to protect other road users from the harm caused by those drink or drug driving. Driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs is one of the ‘Fatal Four’ offences, which makes you more likely to be involved in either a serious or fatal collision. 

During last year’s campaign in Suffolk, 562 breath tests were carried out with 67 drivers providing positive readings. Of the 82 drug tests conducted, 76 drivers failed. In addition, 10 people failed to provide a specimen and 17 people were arrested for being unfit to drive through drink and drugs. 

Whilst officers continue to detect and prosecute these offences throughout the year during ‘business as usual’, recent research published by Drinkaware shows that some people have significantly increased their alcohol consumption at home during the lockdown. 

The message this year is therefore to remind those celebrating at home, that no matter what the setting, drink driving will not be tolerated and those who get behind the wheel and put themselves and others at risk will face the full force of the law. 

Members of the public are also encouraged to provide information about potential offenders to help officers identify who they are, so they can take appropriate action and prevent such collisions from occurring. 
 
Anyone charged and bailed for drink-driving in Suffolk will appear at the next available remand court and so this effectively means that offenders could lose their driving licence within 24 hours of being breathalysed, whilst facing additional fines. 

T/Chief Inspector Jon Chapman, Head of the Joint Roads and Armed Policing Team, said: “This has been a very difficult and challenging year for everyone, with little opportunity to get together with loved ones or celebrate special occasions. With that in mind, we are more than aware that many people will be desperate for some respite over the Christmas period and the chance to share a drink with friends and family – wherever the Covid-19 regulations allow. 

“We want people to be able to enjoy themselves, but to do so sensibly and without risking the lives of others. There is no room for people to think that just because it’s Christmas, or that 2020 has been a year to forget, that getting behind the wheel of a vehicle under the influence of drink or drugs is any more acceptable than it would usually be. 

“Our message is consistent – it is not acceptable any year, or at any time of the year – drink and drug driving kills and we urge friends and relatives not to tolerate or condone their loved ones taking this unnecessary risk. 

“It is also worth remembering that every year we often catch people driving over the limit the morning after a night of drinking. You need time for the effects of alcohol to wear off, so the advice to anyone who has to drive early the next morning is not to drink at all. 

“Please don’t gamble with peoples’ lives for the sake of a drink and do not let anyone you know do so either – the same applies if you know someone has used drugs. The chances of being caught, put in a police cell and losing your driving licence and your job is high, as is the risk of destroying a life and causing death or serious injury – it is just not worth it.”

Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore, said: “This has been a difficult year for everyone and I can’t believe that anyone would consider making matters even worse and risk ending up behind bars for Christmas. Sadly, there will be some road users who despite all the warnings, will be found driving with excess alcohol or drugs in their system.

“It amazes me that despite the obvious dangers, too many motorists still take to the road under the influence of alcohol or drugs. I hope all drivers will heed the warning and consider, not only the danger they put themselves and other road-users in, but also the implications if they get caught. It really is not worth it.

“All drivers need to understand that drink/drug driving risks lives and the lives of others. It is grossly irresponsible and selfish and I hope this year we will finally see a change in attitude as drivers appreciate they don’t want to make 2020 any worse than it already is.”

Anyone with information about suspected drink or drug driving should contact Suffolk Police, by either emailing their local Safer Neighbourhood Team - the details of which can be found on the website here - or by calling 101.

In case of an emergency, or if you believe a crime is in progress, always dial 999

Alternatively, contact the charity Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111 

Don’t forget to follow the Joint Norfolk & Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing Team on Twitter @NSRAPT for updates throughout the campaign.