Earlier this month the National Police Chiefs’ Council released the figures from their summer drink and drug campaign. The results show an increase in the percentage of positive tests carried out. The NPCC have put this down to a targeted approach by individual police forces. The figures show a 25% year-on-year reduction in the number of breath tests that were actually carried out. However, there was only an 11% fall in those that were positive, refused and failed.
The summer campaign 2016 took place between 10th June and 10th July. 45,267 tests were administered in this period. 10% (4,539) of these tests were positive, refused or failed. In 2015 it was 8.46% and in 2014 it was 5.8%. 10% is a considerable increase in the number of drivers caught under the influence behind the wheel.
The figures are on one level a negative sign. They show that many drivers are ignoring the law and risking their own safety and that of others. However, on another level it shines a positive light on the police force. Each force specifically targeted areas well-known for drink and drug-related driving. The NPCC believe this targeted approach has been a success but road safety charities do not agree. Brake has issued a statement and they say there is no way of knowing whether the new approach is effective.
Speaking on behalf of the NPCC, Chief Constable Suzette Davenport commented: “It is encouraging to see that our intelligence led approach continues to work – fewer tests administered but increased criminal justice outcomes, with forces actively targeting hotspots and using their local knowledge to get drink and drug drivers off our roads.
“We remind those who drive when intoxicated that police forces across the country are better equipped than ever before to detect and prosecute drivers who ignore the law.”
Records begin for Drug Testing Drivers
This year’s campaign was the first which has featured the new drug driving test. The swab kits were administered 2,588 times during the campaign period. 1,2038 (39.7%) were positive. The NPCC assert this is evidence of the effectiveness of the kit. They also highlight it as further evidence of their targeted approach being a success.
It is a worry that less people are being tested during the police’s dedicated drink and drug driving campaign. For better enforcement it is clear that traffic police need to be as vigilant as possible to protect all road users from those under the influence of prohibited substances.