Policeman banned after drink-driving
CAMPAIGNERS called for a police sergeant to be sacked last night after he was caught driving while almost twice the drink drive limit – metres from Suffolk police headquarters.
By Danielle Nuttall
CAMPAIGNERS called for a police sergeant to be sacked last night after he was caught driving while almost twice the drink drive limit - metres from Suffolk police headquarters.
Sgt Michael Drew, who is based at Woodbridge Police Station, was yesterday banned from driving for 16 months and ordered to pay a £400 fine after he admitted driving his Mazda MX5 while above the legal alcohol limit on Sunday evening.
The 41-year-old, of Francis Close, Kesgrave, who was off duty at the time of the offence, is presently suspended from duty and now faces disciplinary proceedings.
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But last night John Knight, co-founder of the Campaign Against Drink Driving, called for Drew to be sacked saying he had let the force down.
He said: "If he was charged with breaking and entering or assault or something like that he would be discharged. It's a serious crime and he should be discharged.
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"If police cannot be trusted to follow that law then something should be done in the way of exposure of them to the public and to any of his colleagues who might be tempted to do the same as he has done."
Mr Knight, whose 29-year-old son Colin was killed in an accident involving a drink driver in 1983, added: "It's the police's job to stop drink driving. He has let his police force down."
Magistrates in Ipswich heard how Drew, who has been a police officer for 15 years, left the Black Tiles pub in Martlesham on Sunday following a night out with his friends.
As he approached a roundabout on the A1214 leading to Ipswich, a police officer in an unmarked car noticed the vehicle driving closely to another car in front and decided to follow it.
Macaulay Neil, prosecuting, told the court the officer considered the distance to be too short, which caused him to stop the car at the bus stop just past force headquarters.
Mr Neil said the defendant volunteered he had been drinking and a breath test was performed.
A further specimen was given at Ipswich police station, which gave a reading of 61 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath - the legal limit is 35.
Nigel Innis, representing Drew, told magistrates his client had gone to the Black Tiles to meet friends with the intention of only having a couple of drinks.
However, more friends arrived which caused him to have more drinks, he added.
Mr Innis said when Drew came to leave, he felt fine within himself and decided to drive.
"He did not consume a particularly large amount of food that day. To be fair, he is not seeking to make any excuses here," he said.
"The adverse effects of course is there is the possibility of loss of employment due to the conviction. "He is a man of previous good character."
After the case, a spokesman for Suffolk police said: "The officer is currently suspended from duty and will be the subject of an internal disciplinary hearing."
Drew was banned from driving for 16 months but was told by magistrates' this could be reduced by four months if he completed a drink driving rehabilitation scheme. He was also ordered to pay £34 costs.
Last night Phil Smith, secretary of Suffolk Police Federation, said: "Chief Constables are coming down very hard on police constables caught drinking and driving.
"I think it's disappointing for anybody to be caught and convicted of drinking and driving."