Crackdown on drink and drug drivers over the festive period
You should be under no illusion if you get behind the wheel whilst under the influence you not only risk your licence, get a fine or prison sentence, but you are risking lives too – that is the message being driven by North Wales Police as they launch the Christmas Anti Drink and Drug Drive Campaign, alongside Dyfed-Powys Police, Gwent Police and South Wales Police.
The national month-long operation against driving whilst under the influence began on Friday, 1st December and police forces across the country will be using intelligence-led tactics and local knowledge of hotspots to detect people who are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol over the festive period.
North Wales Police will be using social media as well as a digital advertising campaign to drive home the message of the consequences surrounding drink or drug driving. This will include a digital ad van which will travel across areas of North Wales on key dates throughout December, and digital billboards in shopping centres in Bangor, Colwyn Bay, Rhyl and Wrexham which will also carry our messaging for the duration of the campaign. A poster campaign with licensees and secondary schools and colleges is also underway.
Led by the Force’s Roads Crime Unit, officers from across all teams – including local policing, armed officers as well as the Special Constabulary will be out – day and night targeting those who are endangering not only their own life, but the lives of innocent road users.
“Having to knock on a door and tell someone their loved one has been killed because a driver made the selfish decision to get behind the wheel whilst under the influence is the worst part of our job,” said Chief Inspector Caroline Mullen-Hirst of North Wales Police’ Roads Crime Unit.
“There are no words to describe the devastation caused by drink and drug driving and that is why we are so passionate about what we do. As the festive season gets underway not only are we reminding drivers of the dangers but we’re also highlighting the consequences of getting behind the wheel whilst under the influence.
“Anyone caught faces a minimum 12-18 month disqualification and the public are being urged to take a moment and think seriously about how that would affect your life; driving to work or college, childcare arrangements or school runs, socialising and visiting family. The impact of losing your licence is enormous. You could lose your job and your home. Worst still, you could injure or kill yourself or someone else. Drink or drug driving isn’t worth the risk.
“Our teams will be working 24 hours a day, seven days a week and anyone who is considering driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs should know that we will be out and about waiting for them – please don’t think the rural nature of the region affords you protection because it doesn’t.
“Officers are on heightened alert all year round but especially at this time of year – they will spot you, they will catch you and you will face the consequences. Drivers need to be aware that regardless of the time of day they are caught, whether they are going to work or taking children to school, they will face the same penalties as someone who has chosen to drink heavily in a pub and driven at night.
Chief Inspector Mullen-Hirst added: “Our message is simple; if you are out and know you will be drinking, make sure you have plans for getting home safely without driving.
"We are fully committed to help make the roads safer for all and we’ll continue to target those who endanger their own lives and the lives of others. Don’t drive under the influence of drink or drugs - even a very small amount of drugs or alcohol can affect your ability to drive safelyDon’t let your friends and family pay the price.
“We target drink and drug drivers throughout the year, not just during the Christmas period. So far this year (January to November) we’ve made 868 drink drive arrests and 786 drug drive arrests. Please help us to keep the roads safe all year round. Information from the public is crucial in tackling the issue, therefore if you know someone who drives whilst under the influence, please do the right thing and report them by calling us on 101.”
North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, Andy Dunbobbin said: “As Police and Crime Commissioner, I fully support North Wales Police in the launch of their Christmas Anti-Drink and Drug Driving campaign this year.
“Accidents and deaths on the highway are tragic at any time of the year, but for a family to learn that a loved one has been injured or died at such a special point in the calendar is especially difficult to bear – even more so when it is due to the actions of someone under the influence.
“No friends or family should have to open the door, or pick up the phone, to news like this. That is why road safety is a key part of my plan to make our region safer for residents and visitors alike.
“I hope that this Christmas and New Year we are all able to enjoy festivities safe from Drink and Drug Driving and I thank the Roads Crime Unit at North Wales Police for their hard work and dedication to keeping us all safe.”
If you suspect someone is driving whilst under the influence, please report it immediately to North Wales Police on 101 (or 999 if they are posing imminent danger) or it can be done via the live chat system on the force website, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.