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.”