At the end of January the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) published the results of their annual festive enforcement campaign for 2015. The results found that a much heavier emphasis had been put on drug driving during the period, in no doubt due to the relatively new legislation passed at the beginning of 2015.
The festival enforcement campaign ran from 1st until 31st December as per previous years and 1888 drug screening devices were administered by police officers during this time and nearly 50% of these delivered a positive result showing the driver was under the influence of drugs. The NPCC statistics show that more people tested positive for driving under the influence of drugs in the month of December than in the whole of 2014.
The combination of the new legislation and newer drug detection devices are said to be in some part responsible for the results as they have made it much easier for police to discover and then prosecute drug drivers.
Drink Driving Figures Increase
The NPCC statistics also showed that the 2015 campaign saw many less alcohol breathalyser tests carried out than the previous year and in fact 2012 and 2013 too yet the percentage that tested positive actually increased. The NPCC once again had a reason for this result describing it as due to the police working in a more targeted way using an ‘intelligence-led approach’ and they also focused on known ‘drink drive hotspots’.
In 2015 there were 110,226 breathalyser tests administered and 5.02% were found to be positive whereas in 2014 as the nearest example there were 133,996 tests and 4.39% testing positive.
Looking at the figures from a regional perspective they found the positive rate of testing much higher in England than in Scotland where they saw a positive testing percentage of 3%. Interestingly though, Police Scotland figures showed that the percentage of drivers arrested for drink driving had increased year on year in the 2015 festive period, which they themselves described as a ‘seasonal spike’ but also brought up their change in legislation to lower the drink driving limit in December 2014. However, only 19 of the drink drivers caught were ‘between the old and the new limit’ so the majority arrested were considered ‘well over the limit’.
The festive period enforcement campaign by police forces puts a spotlight on a unique time of year where many drivers appear to forget the dangers of drink driving and this is why the police forces around the UK push their campaigns harder and work to try and bring figures down. The 2015 campaign figures don’t paint a particularly good picture but with the NPCC statements making it clear the police are working in a more intelligence-led way and more dangerous drivers are being stopped, it can be seen in a positive light.
photo credit: Day 1 – Tackling drink driving – West Midlands Police via photopin (license)