Record number of drug driving arrests in Essex last month
PUBLISHED: 11:51 03 April 2019
Essex Police made a record number of drug driving arrests last month - the third month in a row that drug driving arrests have outstripped drink driving arrests.
During March, 164 people were arrested, surpassing the previous highest figure of 163 from January.
There were also 117 people arrested on suspicion of drink driving and 39 people arrested for failing to provide a sample.
It’s the third month in a row that drug driving arrests have outstripped drink driving arrests and the fourth month out of the last five.
Acting Chief Inspector Sharn Taylor, head of roads policing, said: “These figures are shocking. They’re a real concern to me and should be a real concern to the public too.
“Drug driving puts lives at risk. It’s reckless, it’s irresponsible and it’s totally unacceptable.
“I think there are also a lot of people who aren’t really aware of how drugs affect your ability to drive or how long they can stay in your system.
“If you drive with drugs in your system it impacts on your ability to react behind the wheel and that can be fatal. And we have had collisions were someone has died and drugs have been a factor.
“What these figures also show that if you’re drug driving, we WILL catch you and we WILL arrest you. If you’re convicted, you WILL lose your licence and that could mean you lose your job, your home, and even your family.
“We have more officers trained to use the drug wipes meaning we’ve got more opportunity to detect drug drivers and get them off the road.
“My officers are also carrying out targeted and proactive operations to catch people doing things like drug driving.
“Information from the public is also really important and we need anyone who has any information about someone they suspect is drug driving to call us.
“The easiest way to not get caught drug driving is to not do it at all. Our message is drive safe, drive sober.”
The number of arrests is also more than double that from the same time last year when 83 people were arrested for drug driving.
Acting Chief Inspector Taylor added: “We’ve also found there’s a link between drug driving and other forms of crime.
“A study we carried out last year found half of drug drivers had been arrested before and a half of those arrested had been so in connection with serious climes including those linked to violence.
“This makes our work to tackle drug drivers even more important. It’s not just making our roads safer, but it’s helping to tackle and disrupt other forms of crime.”
The study sampled 231 people arrested on suspicion of drug driving - 56 per cent of those arrested had been arrested before and 48 per cent of those arrested before had been in connection with serious crimes including those linked to violence.
If you have any information about a drink or drug driver, call Essex Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.
Alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111.