More than 140 drink and drug drivers arrested by police as part of festive road safety operation
05 Jan | 11:55

More than 140 drivers had a Christmas and New Year to remember for all the wrong reasons - after being arrested by police for drink and drug driving.

At the beginning of December, Northumbria Police pledged their support to the annual Christmas Drink and Drug Driving Campaign led by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).

Every year Forces across the country take part in a crackdown on motorists under the influence of drink or drugs in the lead up to the festive period.

But this winter was very different as Coronavirus restrictions led to a dramatic fall in the number of vehicles on the road compared to previous years.

Motor Patrols officers, the Operation Dragoon team and the Firearms Support Unit (FSU) continued to be deployed across the region to stop those suspected of driving under the influence.

The campaign concluded on Saturday (January 2) and the Force has now revealed 146 people were arrested for drink and drug drive offences.

Among those arrested was one man who blew a reading 156 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath – more than four times the legal limit of 35 micrograms.

Chief Inspector Sam Rennison, of Northumbria Police’s Motor Patrols Department, has condemned the actions of those she says “put lives at risk”.

He said: “We have stopped more than a thousand vehicles over the past month and that has resulted in a number of people being arrested.

“We are never happy to see so many people come into our custody cells for these types of offences because it means they have been putting lives at risk.

“Driving a vehicle when under the influence of drink or drugs impacts on your response time so you are unable to react to what is happening around you.

“These delays in reaction, as well as the reduced awareness of your surroundings, means you are a greater risk on the roads for both yourself and those around you.

“Losing a loved one is awful whatever the circumstances, but when that is as a result of something completely avoidable it is all the more tragic.

“I want the public to feel safe on the roads in Northumbria, and part of that is by providing those law-abiding road users with the reassurance that we are out there, stopping vehicles, and ensuring those drivers who are a risk to others are prosecuted.

“This winter has been different as there have been far less vehicles on the road but that has ensured we can concentrate our time on identifying those who break the law.

“I want to praise the efforts of every officer who has played their part in this campaign and that includes the Special Constabulary who have continued to support our Road Safety initiatives.

“They have volunteered their own time to come into work and help us take those who have been driving under the influence off our roads.”

In the Northumbria force area 75 people were arrested for drink driving while 71 were arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs.

Those figures are slightly down on 195 where 197 drivers were arrested for those offences

Anyone who wants to report information on a drink or drug driver, or who has dash-cam footage of dangerous driving, can do so online at the Northumbria Police website.

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