Nearly 100 arrested during Christmas drink and drug drive campaign
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Nearly 100 people were arrested for drink or drug driving related offences in December, although the percentage of arrests in relation to the number of breath tests reduced.
The results of the Christmas 2019 anti-drink and drug drive campaign, which supports the Police and Crime Commissioner’s commitment to Safe and Social Driving, will now be reviewed and used to target those who get behind the wheel under the influence in the coming year.
While the final number of breath tests carried out isn't in yet, there were at least 1555 carried out between 1 December and 1 January, leading to 98 arrests, up from 72 arrests last year, when there were 914 breath tests in the same period.
Of the 98 arrested this year, 61 were detained on suspicion of drink driving offences and 36 on suspicion of drug driving, with one person arrested on suspicion of both drink and drug driving.
From all those arrested, 48 have so far been charged and have or will be appearing at Cheltenham Magistrates' Court, where penalties can include custodial sentences, unlimited fines and lengthy driving bans.
Chief Inspector Al Barby said: “We were more visible in terms of breath test operations this year, driven by the Police and Crime Commissioner’s desire to deliver safe and social driving in the county.
“Our roads officers, supported by the Special Constabulary, response and local policing teams, did a fantastic job in covering every part of the county.
“The number of arrests is disappointing though as it shows there’s still a stubborn section of society who won’t listen to our warnings.
“I want them to know that we will be continuing roadside operations throughout the year and that if they ignore the possible consequences of drink and drug driving then we will arrest them and they will be taken to court.”
Gloucestershire's Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl said: "Overall I’m pleased with the campaign which I said would be the toughest yet. A huge amount of effort was put into promoting our message and I’m grateful to the pub landlords who promoted safe and social driving by offering discounted soft drinks over the festive period, and those who encouraged drinkers to lift-share and pre-book their taxis.
"I was surprised by the number of arrests for drug driving, which has highlighted the need for better awareness and education in this area. But at the end of the day, if people don’t heed our warnings, we expect the police to enforce the law and only they can do that."
Cllr Dave Norman, Gloucestershire County Council cabinet member with responsibility for the Fire & Rescue Service, said: “Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service helps to educate school pupils and college students about the consequences of driving while under the influence of drink or drugs through our WRECKED workshop, which was delivered to 660 students during December.
“It’s vitally important to make young people aware of these dangers so they think twice before setting off on a journey that could lead to criminal charges and endanger people’s lives.”