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The not for profit volunteer run community radio station covering central-southern Dorset

85 arrests made in December across Dorset for drink or drug driving

The annual Christmas drink and drug drive campaign saw Dorset Police target those who drive while under the influence.

In total, Dorset Police recorded 85 arrests during the December 2022 initiative – of which 57 were on suspicion of drink driving, 22 on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs, and six on suspicion of failing to provide a sample for analysis. Some drivers were arrested on suspicion of multiple offences.

The Christmas campaign, which ran between Thursday 1 December 2022 and Sunday 1 January 2023, was a decrease on the equivalent period the previous year that saw a total of 110 drink and drug drive arrests.

Of the 57 people arrested on suspicion of drink driving related offences, 44 were men and 13 were women. The youngest was 18 years old and the oldest was 70, with the average age of those arrested being 55 years old.

For suspected drug driving related offences, the driver was asked to complete a roadside swab. If this swab was positive, they were arrested and a blood sample was taken at custody for analysis. These bloods are currently being examined before any potential charges are brought.

Of the 22 people arrested on suspicion of drug driving related offences, 19 were men and 3 were women. The youngest was 20 years old and the oldest was 70, with the average age of those arrested being 32 years old.

During the campaign, the Force encouraged those out enjoying a drink during the festive period to plan how to get home without driving. The ‘Lift Legend’ campaign saw Dorset Police partner with over 30 venues across Dorset to offer free drinks to those who agreed to be the designated driver for their group.

Motorists were reminded of the potential consequences of driving while under the influence and the continuing effects that alcohol and drugs can have the morning after.

Superintendent Chris Naughton, of the specialist operations department, said: “Too many people who are otherwise law-abiding citizens, fail to consider the untold devastation that drink and drug driving can cause – those arrested were not necessarily your ‘usual’ suspects.

“Our figures show a 23 per cent reduction in the number of arrests this year versus last year, showing our relentless pursuit of criminality is working and our crime prevention message is getting through to drivers.

“This year, we continued to place a greater emphasis on encouraging those planning a night out to think about how they’re getting home. I would like to thank the venues that took part in our ‘Lift Legend’ campaign for their support in helping to keep their customers and wider road users safe.

“In the past I have been the person knocking on the door to inform relatives that their loved one has been killed as a result of a motorist who thinks it is okay to get behind the wheel while under the influence. This is something that I do not want my team to have to do during the festive period, or any other time of year.

“As in previous years, I would like to thank those members of the public who called us to report a drink driver. Our enforcement efforts will of course continue all year round and intelligence from the public is invaluable in keeping Dorset’s roads safe.”

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, David Sidwick said: “I am pleased to see a reduction in the number of people arrested for drink and drug driving during the winter campaign. Dorset Police is working hard day in, day out, to target those who choose to take the risk and get behind the wheel under the influence and their hard work is paying off.

“There is no excuse for road users to drive after drinking alcohol or taking drugs. It is extremely dangerous and those who choose to break the law are not only putting themselves at risk but others too.”

If you suspect someone of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, please dial 999 immediately with the vehicle information and direction of travel.

For non-urgent matters, or to pass information about someone who regularly drives under the influence of drugs or alcohol, please go to www.dorset.police.uk or call 101.

PC Chris Brolan holding a drug wipe test kit and a drink drive breathalyser

PC Chris Brolan holding a drug wipe test kit and a drink drive breathalyser