The Lincolnshire road safety partnership’s annual Christmas drink and drug campaign has seen a decrease in the number of positive breath tests and arrests over the festive period.
According to data that has just been released by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), officers in Lincolnshire administered 1233 breath tests where the driver had not been involved in a collision, and a further 407 where drivers had, between December 1 and January 1.
Of these 1640 tests, 71 drivers were arrested for providing a positive breath test or for failing to provide a test. The same period last year resulted in 117 people arrested.
John Siddle of the Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership says because of media coverage, members of the public became aware of the local initiative where they could anonymously text to a number and report a suspected a person for drinking and driving. Police officers would then follow up on that information.
The average number of breath tests given each month is about 1100, so there was a significant increase in the number administered in December but with fewer arrests.
Mr Siddle said: “The Partnership decided on a data-led approach this year which enabled the direct targeting of suspected drink-drivers. The fact that 181 texts were received demonstrates the enormous public support for what we were trying to do - encouraging members of the public to anonymously pass information easily (and for free) to the police to rid Lincolnshire of drink drivers,”
He added that the texting initiative was unique to Lincolnshire. “We have already had an approach from a force which was following up on the publicity, which happened to be seen by one of their own officers as he passed through the county at Christmas,” he said.
The Lincolnshire Christmas statistics compare with the Summer campaign which was held throughout the month of June 2014. During that month, 732 drivers were breath-tested and 70 failed the test or refused and were arrested.
“That campaign was the pilot scheme of the text service using the data initiative to increase our intelligence on drivers who drink,” Mr Siddle adds. “All in all we were satisfied with our efforts, delighted with the public response but very disappointed that 71 drivers saw fit to risk the lives of others and their own livelihoods by drinking and driving.”
Information on the national figures can be found on the ACPO website: http://news.acpo.police.uk/releases/younger-drivers-still-need-to-take-heed-of-drink-drive-dangers