More police checks results in spike in number of drink-drivers caught in Northamptonshire

Northamptonshire Police say a sharp rise in drink and drug drivers caught over Christmas is down to a massive increase in the number of roadside checks.

The total of 84 motorists were charged with driving while under the influence of drink or drugs during the festive campaign – up by around 25 per cent on last year.

The number includes two drivers who were arrested on Christmas Day and eight on New Year's Day.

But official figures released today also show the county's officers conducted a whopping 2,590 tests. That is an increase of 42 per cent on the 1,818 from 12 months earlier.

Northamptonshire Police carried out a whopping 2,552 breath and drug tests during their 2019 Christmas campaign.

Chair of the Northamptonshire Safer Roads Alliance, Chief Superintendent Mick Stamper, said: “The increase number of breath tests and drug wipes carried out throughout this campaign, is testament to the hard-work of all our officers, who are committed to improving road safety across the county.

“Every year we warn people of the dangers of driving under the influence of drink and drugs, yet there are still some who selfishly and recklessly choose to ignore us - not only putting their own lives at risk, but those of innocent road users.

“I’d like to thank the vast majority of people who did the right thing and only drove when sober and would urge everyone to continue to do so as just because the festive season is over, it doesn’t mean we will stop reinforcing this message.”

Of the 84 motorists caught this year, 67 were arrested for drink-driving and 17 more for failing a roadside drug test, pending the results of blood tests. In 2018, the figures were 54 drink-drivers and 13 arrested over drug-driving related offences.

As part of the campaign, all those charged have been publicly named by Northamptonshire Police.

One driver has already been jailed for 20 weeks and given a five-year ban by Northampton Magistrates.

PC Dave Lee, of Northamptonshire Police’s Safer Roads Team, said: “Those people caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs over the festive period are starting 2020 facing driving bans, hefty fines and in some cases, prison sentences.

“As a police officer on the roads, I have seen the devastating effects drink and drug driving can have. It only takes one second to have a collision which can not only change your life but the life of an innocent bystander and their family.

“Just because the festive season is over, we will continue to focus on the fatal four offences – which are speeding, drink-driving, not wearing a seatbelt and using a mobile phone at the wheel – throughout the year.”

To report suspected drink or drug driving in confidence, call the Drivewatch Hotline on 0800 174615 or dial 101. In an emergency, call 999.