People are being urged to report suspected drink or drug drivers to the police as we launch our annual Christmas awareness campaign.
The national month of action, led by the National Police Chiefs Council, launches today and will run throughout December.
There will be increased operational activity across Swindon and Wiltshire, as well as awareness-raising public messaging to help ensure that drivers understand the potential dangers of drink/drug driving, as well as the consequences.
This year officers from our Community Policing Teams will be focusing on intelligence-led traffic stops, targeting motorists who have been flagged to us as suspected drink or drug drivers.
Also, roads policing officers will be carrying out increased patrols across the force area to spot drivers breaking the laws of the road.
Inspector Mark Freeman, head of Wiltshire Police’s roads policing unit, said information from the public was vital in apprehending drink or drug drivers and helping to keep our roads safe. He said:
“Of course all police officers are trained to spot the signs of a driver who may be intoxicated and will always take action if they have suspicions about someone’s manner of driving.
“But, good quality local intelligence from members of the public allows us to target our resources on those who pose the greatest risk.
“Sometimes people will report a one-off incident in progress, for example, if they have seen someone leave a pub drunk and get straight into their car to drive home.
“But we also need information about those regular offenders, who perhaps always drink at the same establishment and drive the same route every Friday evening.
“If you have concerns about someone who you believe is drink or drug driving then please call us – you could be saving someone’s life this Christmas.”
Sergeant Neil Bott added that the Covid-19 pandemic had changed people’s socialising and drinking habits, meaning our messaging had to change too. He said:
“In previous years our annual Christmas campaign would have been heavily focused on people attending parties or social gatherings, reminding them to arrange lifts home or book taxis in advance.
“However, this year we know there will be different challenges with regards to drink driving.
“We know that more people will be drinking at home, perhaps dialling into virtual parties or activities.
“Therefore, we need to remind people that any consumption of alcohol, no matter what the social setting or circumstances, could be enough to put you over the legal limit and you need to be mindful of exactly how much you are drinking and whether you should be driving.
“Also, you need to remember that alcohol stays in your system for a number of hours, so you may need to be cautious about driving the next morning as well.”
He added: “We appreciate that 2020 has been a very difficult year. However, we would urge everyone to please be responsible – do not be the reason that a family in Wiltshire has to cope with the loss of a loved one this Christmas.”
If you know someone who regularly drink or drug drives, then please call 101 and give as much information as possible, including the driver’s details or description, their car registration and a time of day that they always do it.
If you believe that a crime is being committed and somebody is already behind the wheel then please call 999.