This is how many people were arrested for drug driving in Essex last month

A drug test after a sample of saliva has been tested Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

A drug test after a sample of saliva has been tested Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

Police in Essex are warning of the harrowing consequences of drug driving as arrests for the offence outstripped those for drink driving for the third time in four months.

Adam Pipe, head of roads policing at Essex Police Picture: ARCHANT

Adam Pipe, head of roads policing at Essex Police Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Andrew Partridge

During February, officers arrested 143 motorists on suspicion of drug driving – compared to 132 people on suspicion of drink driving.

For the first time ever in November, drug drive arrests overtook those for drink driving – and this trend continued into January, when a record 163 motorists were arrested for the offence.

“None of my officers want to have to knock on someone’s door to tell them a loved one has died or is seriously injured due to someone else’s recklessness,” said Adam Pipe, the force’s head of roads policing.

“Having drugs in your system impacts on your ability to drive and not only puts your life at risk, but also those of other road users.

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He added: “For the third time in four months, we’ve seen the number of drug driving arrests outstrip drink driving arrests.

“This is the continuation of a trend we’ve seen throughout 2018.

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“In November last year we saw more drug driving arrests than drink driving arrests for the first time, and in January 163 people were arrested for it – the most in Essex ever.”

More officers in the force are being trained to use drug wipes meaning they will have more opportunities to test motorists they pull over, Mr Pipe said.

Essex Police is also benefitting from 215 extra police officers thanks to a rise in the 2019/20 precept – 21 of those are going to the Roads Policing Unit.

“This means we are going to have more officers out keeping our roads safe, identifying poor driving, and detective people who are drink or drug driving,” Mr Pipe said.

“Our message is simple – drive safe, drive sober.”

Officers have also found a link between drug driving and other forms of crime. Last year, in a study of 231 people arrested, more than half had been arrested before and around a quarter had been arrested in connection with serious crimes, including those linked to violence.

“This makes our work to tackle drug drivers even more important,” Mr Pipe added.

“It’s not just making our roads safe, but it’s helping to tackle and disrupt all sorts of other forms of crime.”

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