Essex drink-dirve figures up

MORE people were caught drink-driving in Essex during the recent Christmas period than the previous year - even though almost 3,000 fewer drivers were stopped by police.

Roddy Ashworth

MORE people were caught drink-driving in Essex during the recent Christmas period than the previous year - even though almost 3,000 fewer drivers were stopped by police.

But yesterday Essex Police's road chief said that greater use of intelligence in identifying offenders was a major factor in the increased numbers.

Running throughout last month, the force's Christmas anti drink-drive campaign saw 5,746 drivers stopped and breath tested, with 233 people proving positive for alcohol or refusing or failing to provide a sample.

In December 2007, 8,507 tests were carried out with just over 170 proving positive for alcohol or failing to provide a sample.

Essex Police's Head of Road Policing, Chief Inspector Tom Diment, said that the increase in the number of people testing positive was a result of the “robust” intelligence-led approach Essex Police had taken throughout December:

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“This Christmas we led an intelligence driven operation where we gained reliable information from members of the public through Crimestoppers.

“This has had an extremely positive impact in targeting those individuals who continue to drive whilst under the influence of alcohol.

“Drink driving is a serious issue that can affect people throughout the year.

“It is important to remember that the high profile police enforcement activity which took place over the Christmas period, including a number of road check points and an increase in road policing patrols, will now continue for the rest of the year.”

Three further major operations were jointly mounted by the police and the Essex Casualty Reduction Board in 2008 to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on the county's roads and lower the number of traffic offences.

In total the operations saw 9,953 vehicles stopped, 153 people arrested and 7,456 fixed penalty notices issued.