‘Frightening’ rise in drink and drug-driving revealed

The Christmas drink and drug-driving campaign took place throughout December Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Christmas drink and drug-driving campaign took place throughout December Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: � ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC

Fears have been raised at a “frightening” rise in drink and drug-driving over Christmas which saw an average of 10 people a day being arrested.

A campaign by Essex Police to reduce the number of drink and drug-drivers during December saw 313 people arrested – 140 on suspicion of drink-driving, 139 on suspicion of drug-driving and 34 for failing to provide a specimen.

The total number is more than double the 148 arrests for drink and drug-driving over the same period in 2017.

Adam Pipe, head of roads policing for Essex Police, said: “This is an unprecedented number of arrests for a drink and drug-driving campaign period, let alone any other month.

“To have, on average, 10 people a day arrested for drink or drug-driving related offences is frightening enough but I actually think that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

“What is particularly scary is that it seems people are taking a chance because they think they can get away with it. These figures show they can’t.

“I hope it acts as a wake-up call and worries the public, because it worries us.”

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Of particular concern to Essex Police is the number of drug-drivers, which has risen by 38% from 2017 to 2018.

There were 754 drug-driving arrests in 2017 but in 2018 that had risen to 1,039.

November saw more people arrested on suspicion of drug-driving than drink-driving for the first time.

Mr Pipe added: “I don’t think people are quite grasping the full extent of the danger drug-driving poses.

“Our Serious Collision Investigation Unit has seen a rise in the number of incidents where someone has been killed or seriously injured where drugs are a factor.

“And we also have evidence that drug driving is linked to more serious criminal activity.

“Last year we carried out a study of a sample of people arrested on suspicion of drug-driving and out of 231 people arrested, 56% had been arrested before.

“This makes our work to tackle drug-drivers even more important. It’s not only making our roads safer, but it’s helping to tackle and disrupt all sorts of other forms of crime.”

During the month-long campaign officers carried out a number of targeted operations to catch offenders in the act.

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