Drug driving offences double in Gloucestershire this winter

drug driving offences double in gloucestershire this winter - Drug driving offences double in Gloucestershire this winter
drug driving offences double in gloucestershire this winter 1 - Drug driving offences double in Gloucestershire this winter

Twice the amount of drug drivers were on our roads this winter compared to last year, despite Covid-19 restrictions affecting the amount of people going to pubs.

130 people were arrested for drink or drug driving related offences over the course of the Constabulary’s winter anti-drink and drug drive campaign. This is compared to 98 people arrested the previous year during the same period.

70 people were arrested for drug driving offences, compared to 36 people during the same operation last year, seeing the number of offenders double.

60 people were arrested for drink driving offences, compared to 61 last year, seeing the number of drink drivers on our roads stay roughly the same.

Of those 130 people arrested during the campaign 43 have been charged and are due to attend Cheltenham Magistrates Court, where penalties can include custodial sentences, unlimited fines and lengthy driving bans.

Operation restraint ran throughout December 2020 and included pro-actively stopping vehicles and seeking out dangerous driving on the county’s roads, supporting the Police and Crime Commissioner’s commitment to Safe and Social Roads.

The final number of breath tests carried out was 883.

Chief Inspector Al Barby said: “Throughout the various tier changes last month our teams were out on the roads conducting breath tests and drugs wipes in order to keep Gloucestershire roads safe by removing dangerous drivers.

“Our roads policing officers, supported by the Special Constabulary, response and local policing teams, did a fantastic job in covering every part of the county.

“Seeing this number of arrests is however disappointing as it shows there’s still a small but stubborn section of society who won’t listen to our warnings and continue to drive under the influence, putting their own and others’ lives at risk.

“I want these people to know that we will be continuing roadside operations throughout the year and that if they ignore the possible consequences of drink and drug driving then we will arrest them and they will be taken to court.”

The PCC’s lead on his Police and Crime Plan ‘Safe and Social Roads’ priority Nigel Lloyd-Jones said, “These figures are very concerning, especially when we consider there were fewer tests because there were fewer people on the roads. Even more disturbing is the increase in people driving under the influence of drugs – almost twice as many as last year. If they believe drugs are less likely to be detected than alcohol, this operation shows they are wrong.

“I hope this sends a clear message to those who continue to think the law doesn’t apply to them that they will not get away with it. Driving under the influence of drinks or drugs puts all road users at risk. It is dangerous and highly irresponsible”.

Cllr Dave Norman, Gloucestershire County Council cabinet member with responsibility for the fire and rescue service and road safety, said: “It’s disappointing to see the number of drink and drug drivers who decided to go out on the roads in December.

“They acted recklessly, failed to consider the consequences of their actions and placed extra strain on our emergency services during this challenging time.

“However the number of arrests and charges brought sends out a clear message that action will be taken if you are caught behind a wheel while under the influence of drink and drugs.”

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