Almost 100 people arrested during Christmas operation to target drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Warwickshire Police has arrested 95 people on suspicion of drink or drug driving as the result of a month long operation that started on 1 December and continued over Christmas and New Year.
During ‘Operation Limit’ 334 breath tests were carried out on drivers as a result of the increased presence of officers on Warwickshire’s roads to target suspected drink and drug drivers.
Twenty-one drivers were arrested on suspicion of ‘driving or attempting to drive or being in charge of a motor vehicle whilst unfit through drink or drugs’, 41 drivers were arrested on suspicion of ‘driving or being in charge with alcohol concentration above prescribed limit’ and 12 drivers on suspicion of ‘driving or being in charge with concentration of specified controlled drug above specified limit’. A further 10 were arrested for failing to provide a specimen for analysis. Some drivers were referred to support services in relation to their drinking or drug taking.
Fourteen drivers were arrested on suspicion of drink or drug driving offences following a collision, including the driver of this Audi RS7 who lost control of his car on the M6 Northbound near the junction 2 exit on Saturday 16 December 2023. The car and its occupants left the road into trees leaving one of the passengers with a broken rib. The driver was arrested at the scene after he failed a roadside breath test. The vehicle dash cam showed the driver was travelling in excess of 100mph at the time of the collision. (See photo)
The vast majority of those arrested were men. The youngest driver arrested was 18 years old and the oldest was 80.
One driver provided a roadside breath test reading of 141. This is four times over the legal limit of 35 micrograms per 100ml of breath.
Six drivers were also found to be driving with no licence or no insurance and had their vehicles seized.
The public played a huge part in the operation, assisting officers in 13 drink and drug driving related arrests.
Throughout the campaign the details of all arrests and charges were publicised on the www.warwickshire.police.uk and www.warksroadsafety.org websites and/or social media. The arrests over the New Year weekend can be found below.
Sergeant Simon Dalby said “Whilst the vast majority of drivers do not drink or take drugs and drive, this operation shows that there are still a dangerous few who continue to think it is ok to risk their own life and the lives of other people by drinking or taking drugs and driving. This is not acceptable. Those arrested will now have the opportunity to consider the consequences if found guilty in court. Those convicted will have a criminal record that could affect their job prospects and ability to travel to certain countries. Sentences can include fines and driving bans.
“We would also like to reassure the public that this operation isn’t a one off. We target suspected drink and drug drivers every day of the year because we know the biggest deterrent to drink and drug driving is being caught and punished. We submit evidence of the most serious suspects to the DVLA who have the power to remove driving licences to protect the majority of lawful road users.
“We are also very grateful to the public, CCTV operators and partner agencies such as National Highways who all played an important role in highlighting individuals they suspected may be driving or about to drive under the influence. This led to around 14% of all our arrests and we are very grateful for their continued support. “
Police and Crime Commissioner and Chair of Warwickshire Road Safety Partnership Philip Seccombe said “This was a very successful operation and the high number of suspected drink and drug drivers arrested following a collision shows how important it is for officers to continue their enforcement activities, not just at Christmas but throughout the year.
“For our roads to be safer we need to continue to push behaviour change messages so that drink and drug driving is regarded by everyone as completely unacceptable. It’s therefore very encouraging to see so many of the public getting involved and reporting people they suspect of driving under the influence so that police can take the necessary enforcement action. I’d like to thank everyone who did so, as well as passing on my gratitude for the work done by police and others to bring offenders to justice.
“While it is only a small minority of people who drive while under the influence, it’s important that everyone continues to work together to remove them from our roads.”
Recent arrests include:-
- A 63 year old man from Stanion, Kettering was arrested at 00.10hours on 29 December in Bank Street, Rugby after a member of the public called police about a man acting suspiciously near vehicles. On arrival officers found him sat in the driver’s seat with the engine running. He repeatedly failed to provide a breath test. He was later charged with failing to provide a specimen for analysis and driving whilst unfit through drink or drugs to appear at Warwickshire Magistrates Court on 16 February 2024.
- A 37 year old man from Nuneaton was arrested at 01.44 hours on 29 December in Tuttle Hill after officers observed his manner of driving through Nuneaton town centre and stopped him. He failed a roadside breath test and was later charged with drink driving to appear at Warwickshire Magistrates Court on 16 February.
- A 44 year old man from Nuneaton was arrested at 21.55hours on 29 December in Grove Road, Nuneaton after the car he was driving collided with a Ford Mondeo. He was detained by a member of the public until officers arrived and arrested him for driving whilst unfit through drink or drugs. He was charged with drink driving, assault of an emergency worker, driving without a licence and driving without insurance and will appear at Warwickshire Magistrates Court on 23 February.
- A 54 year old woman from Attleborough, Nuneaton was arrested at 23.48hours on 29 December at her home address after police were called to reports of a collision on Queens Road, and that a vehicle had left the scene. Fortunately a member of the public followed the vehicle and was able to let officers know her location. Police attended and arrested the driver and she was later charged with failing to stop after a road collision and driving whilst unfit through drink or drugs to Warwickshire Magistrates Court on 23 February.
- A 39 year old man from Manchester was arrested at 18.48 on 30 December in High Street, Hillmorton after he was involved in a collision. He failed a roadside breath test and was arrested for drink driving. He was later bailed to 21 January pending further enquiries.
- A 32 year old woman from Birmingham was arrested at 02.33hours on 29 December in Milverton Terrace, Leamington Spa on suspicion of drink driving after her vehicle was stopped by officers and she failed a roadside breath test. She was charged with drink driving to appear at Warwickshire Magistrates on 16 February.
- A 20 year old woman from Little Kineton, Warwick was arrested at 23.50hours on 29 December in Southam Street, Southam after police were called to a collision. She was the sole occupant of the vehicle involved and failed a roadside breath test. She was later charged with drink driving and will appear before Warwickshire Magistrates Court on 16 February.
- A 20 year old provisional licence holder from Stratford upon Avon was arrested at 02.03hours on 30 December on Evesham Road in the town after his vehicle was stopped due to his manner of driving. He was later charged with driving whilst unfit through drink or drugs, driving without a licence and without insurance. He will appear at Warwickshire Magistrates Court on 23 February.
- A 19 year old man from Long Itchington was arrested at 22.35hours on 31 December on Portland Street, Leamington Spa when officers suspected the driver of a white Audi A3 had pulled out of a junction failing to give way before pulling into a parking space. The driver failed a roadside drug swipe for cocaine and cannabis and was arrested for drug driving. He has been released on bail pending further enquiries.
- A 47 year old man from Quinton, Birmingham was arrested at 02.50hours on 1 January after police stopped his vehicle on the M40 northbound near junction 13 and he failed a roadside breath test. He was later charged with drink driving to appear at Coventry Magistrates Court on 18 January.
- A 19 year old man from Thrapston, Kettering was arrested at 04.02hours on 1 January in Beauchamp Avenue, Leamington Spa after police observed his manner of driving as he entered a petrol station. He failed a roadside breath test and was charged with drink driving to appear at Coventry Magistrates Court on 18 January.
A national behaviour change campaign was used alongside the enforcement activity to appeal to the public’s sense of shared responsibility to help reduce the number of people killed and injured on our roads. The campaign encourages friends to plan ahead for their night out by agreeing a designated driver, pre-booking a taxi or choosing a venue that’s easy to get home from. It also asks friends to step in to help someone get home safely who is about to drink drive, and if persuasion doesn’t work, for the public to report a drink driver to police.