Police forces across the UK have started publishing the results of festive campaigns which targeted those who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The festive period is renowned for increased levels of drink and drug driving and every year forces across the country take part in a crackdown, led by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).
Despite Covid-19 restrictions limiting much of the usual celebrations, officers in Warwickshire, Essex and Northumberland apprehended nearly 500 offenders as part of their efforts.
All three forces have issued warnings over the dangers associated with getting behind the wheel while under the influence.
During Warwickshire’s month-long campaign, 619 drivers were stopped by officers, who administered 471 breath tests and 36 drug wipes.
In total, 44 people were arrested – including 19 drivers following a positive breath test, and 21 drivers following a positive drug wipe test.
ACC Alex Franklin-Smith, Warwickshire Police, said: “It is disappointing that the operation led to the identification of so many irresponsible individuals who think it is okay to continue drink or drug driving.
“We will continue to encourage all front line officers to use police powers to stop and breath test drivers to continue to drive the message home that Warwickshire Police will do all it can to keep our roads safe for all to use.”
Meanwhile in Essex, officers made 280 drink and drug driving related arrests over December and the New Year period – including 139 drug driving arrests and 118 drink driving arrests.
Temporary chief inspector Emma Bullock, head of roads policing, said: “Sadly we continue to see people their safety and those of other road users at risk.
“Driving with alcohol or drugs in your system can have a significant impact on your ability behind the wheel.
“We know that in many cases drug drivers are habitual drug users – it’s part of their daily routine.
“We also know that many people don’t realise there’s a drug driving limit or that you can test positive for drugs in your system days after you’ve last taken them.”
Finally in Northumberland, more than 140 drivers ‘had a Christmas and New Year to remember for all the wrong reasons’ – after being arrested by police for drink and drug driving.
Chief inspector Sam Rennison, of Northumbria Police’s Motor Patrols Department, said: “We have stopped more than a thousand vehicles over the past month and that has resulted in a number of people being arrested.
“We are never happy to see so many people come into our custody cells for these types of offences because it means they have been putting lives at risk.
“Driving a vehicle when under the influence of drink or drugs impacts on your response time so you are unable to react to what is happening around you.
“These delays in reaction, as well as the reduced awareness of your surroundings, means you are a greater risk on the roads for both yourself and those around you.”