Suffolk Police launch anti-drink and drug driving campaign
Suffolk Police launched their anti-drink and drug driving campaign on Sunday.
The initiative, which runs until January, will see officers carrying out roadside checks throughout the day and night – including early morning checks– as well as intelligence-led enforcement activity.
It was highlighted at the launch that motorists driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a contributary factor to a vast number of serious or fatal road traffic collisions, which can easily result in all of the emergency services – which were present present at the launch – having to attend the scene.
Suffolk Police are encouraging members of the public to provide them with intelligence about potential offenders to help officers identify who they are, so they can take appropriate action and prevent such collisions from occurring.
For the first time this year, an online portal has been set-up to enable members of the public to report any concerns relating to suspected drink or drug-driving directly to the Roads and Armed Policing Team. Those that would prefer to do this anonymously can still contact Crimestoppers as in previous years.
During last year’s campaign in Suffolk 772 drivers were breathalysed, with 72 providing positive readings. Some 183 people undertook roadside drug tests, which 76 people failed.
Chief Inspector Kris Barnard, head of the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing Team, said: "We want everyone to enjoy a safe and happy festive season and so this is one of our most important annual campaigns. Despite our constant warnings and the publicity around the dangers and consequences of drink and drug-driving, too many people are still prepared to put their lives and those of other road users at risk.
"Driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs is not a victimless act. Our officers and colleagues from across the emergency services have attended numerous collisions in which people have been seriously injured or killed, where alcohol or illegal substances have been the cause of the incident.
"Visiting the family of a serious collision victim to tell them their loved one has died or has been taken to hospital in a critical condition is perhaps the most difficult task our officers have to undertake. It is a terrible thing to have to tell people at any time of the year, but even more so at Christmas.
"Our message is simple, don’t take the risk – it’s not worth it. The worst-case scenario is that you are responsible for killing someone, ruining the lives of dozens of that person’s friends and family and a lengthy prison term to contemplate your actions.
"However, for the majority of people caught drink or drug-driving, the punishment will be a minimum 12 to 18-month ban, a substantial fine, and for some people the financial consequences could be more severe if losing their licence also means losing their job.”