Drink-drive arrests over Christmas period down

Hampshire Constabulary see a drop in the number of people being arrested for drink-driving compared to the previous year.

This in from Police in their own words. Ed

Christmas drink-drive arrests have dropped 15 per cent on last year, Hampshire Constabulary’s Smashed figures show.

During the campaign, which ran from December 1 to January 1, a total of 5,811 drivers were breath tested – an increase of four per cent [243] on Christmas 2011.

Of those tested, 205 people gave a positive reading (19 on the Isle of Wight) and were arrested and of those, 12 per cent were at least three times over the drink-drive limit.

140 charged
Police have since charged 140 people [68 per cent] with drink-drive offences, bailed 51 [25 per cent] pending further enquiries and released 14 [seven per cent] with no further action.

Chief Inspector Andy Bottomley of Roads Policing for Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police, said: “I am obviously very pleased with the results which do suggest a reduction in drink-driving offences across the two counties during the campaign.

“It is important to point out that while we carry out drink-drive operations throughout the year, we see a spike in this type of offending in the weeks leading up to and just after Christmas.

“After seeing a nine per cent rise in drink-drive arrests in 2011, it was clear that we needed to invest more time and resources into our Christmas campaign in 2012. As part of this we carried out operations every Friday and Saturday night and Sunday and Monday morning as well as our usual roadside checks and joined forces with our colleagues in the local Safer Neighbourhoods teams spreading drink-drive messages with the help of bumper stickers, beer mats in local pubs and by touring with a crashed car which just one year previously had been involved in a drink-drive fatality.

“I like to think that this has paid dividends, not only because of the number of arrests made but hopefully in that the volume of officers out on Hampshire’s and the Isle of Wight’s roads would, for some, been good enough reason not to chance it.”

Rise in female drivers arrested
This year saw a 44 per cent increase in female drivers arrested (up from 43 to 62) whereas male driver arrests fell 27 per cent from 197 to 143.

The failure rate for male drivers was 3.2 per cent whereas for females it was higher at 4.4 per cent. The youngest person arrested was just 17 years old while the oldest was 81. The average age of suspected offenders was 37.

The highest failure rate was for drivers aged 30 to 39. Of the 1,166 breathalysed, 51 failed – 4.4 per cent.

The message appears to be getting through
Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes: “I’m also pleased to see that from the results the message about drink driving appears to be getting through.

“However I am concerned that the highest failure rate was for drivers aged between 30 and 39; and also that 12 per cent of those arrested were at least three times over the limit.

“Issues around alcohol misuse are ones which I will be addressing in my Police and Crime Plan which is to be published at the end of March. I will be inviting partner organisations to join with me and the police in working to reduce both alcohol and drug abuse across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. It is important that social problems such as these are tackled seriously to ensure the message gets out that drink-driving and anti social behaviour are simply not acceptable in our communities.

“The results also show that police need to keep up the good work already being done. I was out on patrol on New Year’s Eve and when most people were celebrating, officers were working hard – often dealing with alcohol related incidents.”

30% of those tested were in collisions
Out of everyone breath-tested during the campaign, 30 per cent were as a result of a road traffic collision. Out of the 1,726 persons tested after collisions 5.6 per cent failed the test.

By area, Eastern and Northern Hampshire had the highest number of arrests with 75 [37 per cent] and 69 [34 per cent] respectively, followed by Western Hampshire including Southampton, New Forest, Eastleigh and Romsey with 61 arrests [30 per cent].

Havant had the lowest number of arrests with six, followed by Andover with nine and the New Forest with 11.

At the other end of the scale people in Southampton were the worst offenders with 33 arrested followed closely by Portsmouth drivers of which 30 were arrested.

Wednesday, 9th January, 2013 1:20pm


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1 Comment

  1. wightywight

    9.Jan.2013 5:56pm

    I quite like the annual, new year PR by the Police over *their* drink driving campaigns…..
    Spin it every which way they can…..

    So, just reading their figures – which, if not careful, one can get completely the wrong end of the stick – shows some interesting data.
    5800 drivers stopped and then subsequently breathalysed….an increase on the previous year of 243 drivers. Right, so the Police were *busier* about their task.
    As a result, only 205 people gave a positive breath test reading …meaning that of the 5800 people stopped…nearly 5600 people were perfectly (legally) sober!
    When one considers there has to be just cause to stop a vehicle (which then gives the Police the ‘power’ to demand a breath test..) whether or not the whole exercise is somewhat over zealous? How far off of the mark are our Police in recognising driving behaviour that might be a result of drinking/drugs…? From these figures…not so very good.
    More worringly, of the 205 people tested positive, it transpires that 65 of them (around a third) were NOT drink driving at all!
    We learn that one third of breath tests were carried out following a Road Traffic Accident (meaning that around 4,000 tests were just *random* in nature if not in legality) and that of those breath tests on the 1726 people involved in road accidents ONLY (around) 80 people were driving over the influence of (legal) alcohol levels.
    95% of people involved in accidents had NOT been drinking………
    This sort of runs contrary to the widely held notion of people driving around drunk and causing accidents…indeed, it’s the central issue to the Police campaign (and varying previous ones) about don’t drink and drive…it kills!
    Well, on these figures….that’s not borne out whatsoever. Clearly the majority of accidents are caused by people who are sober…by a very, very big margin.
    It does lead one onto thinking about how Police resources are spread out and whether the blitzing approach the Police appear to be using is actually good value for money..


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