A TOTAL of 190 people were arrested as part of Essex Police’s Christmas crack down on drink or drug driving.
The campaign, run in partnership with the Safer Essex Roads Partnership (SERP), ran from December 1, 2016 to January 1, 2017.
Drivers were breathalysed or given road side drug tests during this period – 130 people were arrested on suspicion of alcohol-related offences, while 60 people were arrested on suspicion of drug-related offences.
During Essex Police’s 2015 campaign 154 drivers were arrested – 79 breathalysed were over the limit or failed to provide a sample of breath, 22 gave a positive result when tested using the roadside drug testing kits, and a further 53 were arrested on suspicion of drug and/or drink driving offences and taken to custody to be breathalysed and/or drug tested rather than at the roadside.
Adam Pipe, Casualty Reduction Manager, said: “It is concerning that there still appears to be a lot of people in Essex willing to risk driving while under the influence of drink or drugs.
“More than nine per cent of all RTCs on our county’s roads in December involved a drink or drug driver.
“While these figures show this is still a big issue that needs to tackled, they also highlight the fact that we are getting better at gaining information and directing our resources to tackle offenders.
“The large number of drug driving arrests also emphasises the fact we have the technology that makes it easier to identify those flouting the law.
“We have an intelligence-led approach to tackling offenders and once again members of the public have played an integral role in this.
“I have never known a month where we have gathered more information from the public and I want to thank them for their help.
“I believe residents of Essex find drink and drug driving as abhorrent as we do and I would urge them to continue to contact us if they suspect someone is doing it.
“Drink and drug driving ruins lives and has a devastating impact on the families of the victims.
“Essex Police will not tolerate it and we will continue to identify offenders and bring them to justice.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst said: “Road safety is a priority for policing in Essex. “Criminal driving kills more people in our county than all other forms of crime put together. It is not acceptable for drivers to put themselves and others at risk. We must be concerned that the number of those killed or seriously injured on our roads has risen again in 2016, and I welcome this crack-down over the holiday period. The results demonstrate that by giving officers the tools and technology to access better intelligence, they are able to arrest more drivers under the influence of drink or drugs. The message is clear: if you take drugs or drink and get behind the wheel of a car, you should expect to be caught and punished.”
Nicola Foster, Chairman of the Safer Essex Roads Partnership, said: “For the 190 drivers arrested for driving under the influence of drink or drugs, and their families, some of the consequences will now be making themselves felt. Sadly, there are still many drivers who knowingly taking this risk and many more who drive ‘the morning after’ not realising that they are still unfit to drive. We need everybody’s help to make the roads a safer place for 2017.”