Police forces in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have launched operations to tackle drink and drug driving in the run up to Christmas.
Initiatives in England and Wales are in support of the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s (NPCC) annual festive campaign, launched on 1 Dec, in which officers are targeting areas where drink and drug driving is ‘more commonplace’.
Police Scotland (picuted above) has issued a ‘zero tolerance’ warning to motorists, while the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) campaign features ‘random’ breath tests at vehicle checkpoints.
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The topic is being highlighted across social media and through advertising on local radio, while increased enforcement activity is also taking place across the region.
Warwickshire Police is keen to remind motorists that there is ‘no foolproof way of calculating how much you can drink and remain under the limit’, or ‘knowing how much an individual person can drink and still drive safely’.
Assistant chief constable Richard Moore, Warwickshire Police, said: “There are still people out there who feel they can gamble with drinking and driving and think they know how much the limit is but the simple fact is, there is only one way of being sure that you are safe to drive and that is not to drink at all.
“Any amount of alcohol affects your ability to drive. We’re urging people to think hard about the consequences that a collision and a conviction could lead to.”
In Manchester, Greater Manchester Police and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service are working with bereaved mum ‘Elaine’ who lost her 27 year-old-son James in 2009.
The Greater Manchester campaign, ‘None for the Road’, reminds drivers of the ‘devastating consequences’ of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and shows ‘commitment to tackling the issue during a peak time’.
Under the month-long All-Wales Christmas Anti Drink and Drug Drive Campaign, police forces across the country are using intelligence-led tactics and local knowledge of hotspots to detect people who are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
North Wales Police is leading the campaign which is using social media to drive home messages about the impact of drink and drug driving.
As part of the campaign, officers from the North Wales Police Roads Policing Unit are giving their personal accounts of what it is like to deal with the aftermath of a collision involving a drink or drug driver.
These messages will be deployed via social media every day throughout the campaign using the hashtags #ChooseWisely and #Fatal5.
Superintendent Jane Banham, North Wales Police Roads Policing Unit, said: “Once again our campaign will be heavily focussed around preventing drink or drug driving to stop those who are risking their lives and the lives of innocent road users.
“Anyone who is considering driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs should know that we will be out and about waiting for them – please don’t think the rural nature of the region affords you protection, because it doesn’t.”
The campaign, which launched on 1 December and is running until 2 January 2018, sets out to increase motorists’ awareness of the risks associated with the offences – and looks to reassure the public that drink/drug driving will not be tolerated.
As part of the campaign, Police Scotland will combine high visibility patrols and roadside checks to ensure those who continue to ignore the law will face prosecution for doing so.
Campbell Moffat, roads policing inspector, said: “If you choose to drink drive or drug drive you run the risk of being caught, reported to the court, disqualified from driving for a minimum period of 12 months, have a criminal record for a lengthy period and in some cases your vehicle maybe subject to forfeiture. Getting caught will no doubt have wider implications in other areas of your life.
“So, if you do decide to go out, plan ahead and think about how you are going to get home. The message is quite simple – the best approach is none.”
The Police Service of Northern Ireland’s (PSNI) annual winter drink and drug drive operation is seeing officers set up vehicle checkpoints to carry out random breath tests as a ‘very visible, physical deterrent’.
Assistant chief constable Barbara Gray said: “Our message is very simple; never ever drink and drive. Just one drink can impair your decision making. Just one drink can cause a collision. Just one drink could kill.
“Across the country, road policing officers, local and neighbourhood policing teams will again be using legislation introduced last year, to set up vehicle checkpoints and carrying out random breath tests as a very visible, physical deterrent.
“We are determined to catch people who take life-threatening, unacceptable, and simply stupid risks.”