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Over 150 arrests made during Christmas campaign against drink and drug driving

Police in Suffolk made 157 arrests during the annual Christmas campaign highlighting the dangers of driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs.

The month-long initiative ran between Thursday 1 December until Sunday 1 January, in conjunction with a UK-wide operation organised by the National Police Chiefs’ Council.

This year the Constabulary combined with a number of other forces across the country to speak with one voice, promoting the message: ‘Drink Driving – Together We Can Stop It.’

The campaign involved officers carrying-out roadside checks throughout the day and night, as well as intelligence-led enforcement activity. Alongside this, social media messaging was used to urge the public to ‘help prevent, persuade and call police’ on drink drivers.

A total of 907 motorists were stopped or dealt with by officers in Suffolk, 17% of whom were arrested as follows:

  • 82 on suspicion of drink-driving (800 people breathalysed in total, with 718 providing negative tests)
  • 62 on suspicion of drug-driving (94 people tested in total, with 32 providing negative tests)
  • In addition, seven people were arrested for failing to provide a specimen; and six people were arrested for being unfit through drink or drugs

Of all the people who failed a test, 85% were male and 20% were under the age of 25-years-old.

Chief Inspector Jon Chapman, of the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Roads & Armed Policing Team, said: “Unfortunately the necessity for this annual campaign has been proven once again due to the significant numbers of arrests officers have made – on average it equated to almost five people arrested per day.

“I continue to be both dismayed and extremely concerned that so many people are prepared to take such unnecessary risks with their lives and the lives of others, when everyone is fully aware of the dangers of driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs.

“We joined together with a number of other forces across the country this year to deliver a clear and consistent message around shared responsibility with particular regard to drink-driving, which was: ‘Together We Can Stop It.’

“This aimed to get people to think about the steps that you can take when out drinking with friends and family which could ultimately save a life. If you know someone has had too much to drink and they are going to attempt to drive, you should take action to prevent them from doing so.

“Although we highlight drink and drug driving at this time of year, it is of course something we enforce 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“We will continue to play our part in removing offending drivers from the roads, but we ask members of the public to also do their civic duty at all times – if you have the opportunity to stop someone from getting behind the wheel in the first place, your action could save a life.”

Tim Passmore, Police & Crime Commissioner for Suffolk, said: “Sadly yet again, another set of results showing the drink/drug drive message is still not being heeded by all drivers, which I find both frustrating and disappointing.

“I really can’t believe that some drivers have not got the message. Driving under the influence of drink and drugs – is illegal for a reason, it is one of the four most likely causes of death on our roads, along with using mobile phones, speeding and not wearing a seatbelt. 

“I am disappointed that so many drivers choose to flout these laws but pleased to see that the Constabulary’s commitment to catching those that do continues unabated.”

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 here: www.suffolk.police.uk/your-area - or by calling 101.

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

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111, or via their online form: www.crimestoppers-uk.org

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Previous release | 5 December 2022
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This year Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies are combining with a number of other forces across the country to speak with one voice, promoting the message: ‘Drink Driving – Together We Can Stop It.’

The campaign launches today (Monday 5 December) and will seek to focus peoples’ minds that stopping drink-driving is a shared responsibility – for example, if you have friends or relatives that you know will take risks and drive under the influence, then you should do all you can to persuade them not to get behind the wheel. If you can’t stop them, then you should call the police.

Would you report a drink driver this Christmas?

That’s the question being posed by Chief Constable Jo Shiner, the country’s most senior police officer for road safety, as part of a national crackdown on drink driving.

The major new campaign urges the public to ‘help prevent, persuade and call the police’ on drink drivers this winter.

Latest survey figures show:

  • 81% of Brits say drink drivers should be reported to the police… but less than half would actually do it in practice
  • 36% of men and 46% of women say they’d take a drink driver’s car keys off them.
  • Only 2% say they wouldn’t try to stop a friend from drink driving

The new national campaign, called ‘Drink Driving – Together We Can Stop It’, appeals to the public’s sense of shared responsibility to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads. 

It runs alongside a national police operation called Op Limit, where all police forces in England and Wales are increasing their presence on the roads to coincide with the football world cup and lead up to Christmas to target and catch drink and drug drivers.

In 2020 (latest published figures) an estimated 6,480 people were killed or injured in the UK when one of the drivers involved was over the drink-drive limit.

Chief Constable Jo Shiner, who is the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for Roads Policing, is sharing a message for all drivers and their friends. She said: “Drink driving destroys lives, but tragically every day reckless drivers get behind the wheel and put themselves and others at risk.

“People who drink drive need to be stopped. Our campaign aims to save lives by deterring people from drink and drug-driving, and to deal robustly with offenders. That’s why we are calling on the public and friends of drink drivers to prevent, persuade and – as a last resort – report drink driving to police this Christmas.”

Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies are asking friends to plan ahead for their night out over the festive period. Who is your designated driver?  Can you pre-book a taxi? Can you walk to the venue?

There’s also a role for persuasion – can you step in to help someone who’s about to drink drive to get home safely? If persuasion doesn’t work, you can report a drink driver to us so we can stop them, arrest them and get them off the road.

Roads Minister Richard Holden said: “Driving under the influence puts others at risk, resulting in thousands of serious injuries and deaths on our roads each year, and these tragedies must be stamped out.

“We are improving road safety through our THINK! Campaign and working closely with enforcement to crackdown on drink and drug driving, which sadly happens too often during the festive season.”

CC Shiner added: “Drink drivers should be aware of the consequences.”

“You could face a minimum 12-month driving ban, an unlimited fine and even a prison sentence. There’s also the personal impact of having a criminal record and possibly losing your job. Most importantly you could kill or seriously injury yourself or someone else.

“I know from personal experience the heartbreak of losing a loved one on the road, I lost my father when I was a teenager. Hopefully this year, with the public and police working together, it will mean fewer families facing this Christmas without their loved ones.”  

That’s why Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies are calling on the public and friends of drink drivers to prevent, persuade and – as a last resort – report drink driving to police this Christmas.

Chief Inspector Jonathan Chapman of the joint Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing said: “Our officers work tirelessly throughout the year to highlight the dangers and potential consequences of drink driving, yet it remains a persistent issue, especially at this time of year.

“This year’s campaign highlights the collective responsibility we all have for preventing incidents of drink driving. Although the responsibility ultimately lies with the offender, there are steps that you can take when out drinking with friends and family which could ultimately save a life.

“If you have been out drinking with someone and know they are planning to drive home whilst clearly over the limit, you have the opportunity to prevent them from getting behind the wheel.”

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

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111, or via their online form: www.crimestoppers-uk.org

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