“Unprecedented” number of arrests made during anti-drink and drug driving campaign

PUBLISHED: 14:51 04 January 2019 | UPDATED: 14:59 04 January 2019

Road safety operation to stop drink and drug drivers. Picture: ESSEX POLICE

Road safety operation to stop drink and drug drivers. Picture: ESSEX POLICE

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More than 300 people were arrested during Essex Police’s Christmas anti-drink and drug driving campaign.

The campaign ran during the month of December and saw 313 people arrested – 140 on suspicion of drink driving, 139 on suspicion of drug driving, and 34 for failing to provide a specimen.

The total number of arrests is more than double the 148 from the same time in 2017.

Adam Pipe, head of roads policing for Essex Police, said: “This is an unprecedented number of arrests for a drink and drug driving campaign period, let alone any other month.

“To have, on average, 10 people a day arrested for drink or drug driving related offences is frightening enough but I actually think that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

“What is particularly scary is that it seems people are taking a chance because they think they can get away with it. These figures show they can’t.

“I’ve never seen this many people arrested for these offences in one month. I hope it acts as a wake-up call and worries the public, because it worries us.”

There were 754 drug driving arrests in 2017 but in 2018 that had risen to 1,039, and November saw more people arrested on suspicion of drug driving than drink driving for the first time ever.

Mr Pipe added: “I don’t think people are quite grasping the full extent of the danger drug driving poses.

“Our Serious Collision Investigation Unit, which investigates the most serious crashes, has seen a rise in the number of incidents where someone has been killed or seriously injured where drugs are a factor.

“And we also have evidence that drug driving is linked to more serious criminal activity.”

Mr Pipe said information and help from the public is crucial to tackling the problem.

He said: “I believe people in Essex are as disgusted by drink and drug driving as we are. You support the work we do by helping us identify those drivers who are flouting the law.

“This information is invaluable and I want to thank you for it. Anyone who calls in with information about a drink or drug driver is helping to make Essex a safer place and I need your support to continue.

“Our Christmas campaign may have finished but our work to tackle drink and drug driving doesn’t stop. We continue to work with the Safer Essex Roads Partnership, and other partners, to raise awareness of the issue and get those who break the law, off the road.

“Our message for 2019 is drive safe, drive sober.”

If you have information about a drink or drug driver you can call 101 or 999 in an emergency.

Alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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