West Yorkshire Police is urging the public to “dob in a drink driver” in the run-up to Christmas.
The Force will also be once again detailing each charge made against those suspected of drink or drug driving throughout December.
‘It’s not worth the risk’ is the message behind the festive crackdown, which officially launched this week, and will see West Yorkshire Police asking the public to contact them about people they see, or know to either drink or take drugs, before getting behind the wheel.
Information can be given to police call handlers via the 101 non emergency number, or by using the new online reporting form, which is now live. In an emergency, where there is a crime in progress or threat to life, always call 999.
The Force will also reveal the details, including the age, gender, town or city the driver is from, as well as the time and location they were arrested. Information will also be released of those charged in connection with failing to provide a specimen of breath or those charged with being unfit to drive.
The publication of each charge made in relation to drink or drug driving was a first for West Yorkshire Police last December, and proved to be an effective method in reminding people about the penalties. Once again, the details will be posted onto a special section of the Force’s website each weekday morning. Further updates and news regarding this year’s campaign will also feature on the Force’s Twitter account: @WestYorksPolice using the hashtag #NotWorthTheRisk.
Insp Joanne Field, who leads West Yorkshire Police’s Roads Policing Unit, said: “Driving while under the influence of drink or drugs is always a significant danger, but at Christmas the risks are even more prevalent with darker nights, bad weather and sadly, more people taking the risk by drinking or using drugs and then getting behind the wheel.
“We’re asking people to consider the real impact of those they see or know regularly drinks or uses drugs before driving and have made it easier than ever to ‘dob in a driver’. You can call 101 to make your report, or you can use the new online form. We want those who witness someone clearly drinking too much to drive to call us, but we’d like to encourage people to think about the people they see or know who regularly drink and drive and report them too.
“Each year we stop hundreds of people who are clearly not in a fit state to drive through drink or drugs. The 2015 campaign is about hammering home the message that on a daily basis people across West Yorkshire are risking their and other people’s lives and that drink or drug driving has extremely serious consequences.”
A conviction for driving while under the influence of drink and drugs will lead to a criminal record, a driving ban of at least a year and a fine up to £5,000.
“The effect of a drink driving conviction can be devastating. In my time as an officer, I have seen people lose their job, career and relationships. If you’re going out to drink any amount please leave your car keys at home. It’s simply not worth the risk,” added Insp Field.
“The number of drink driving charges is decreasing nationally which is a step in the right direction. While we would like to think that this is because people are more aware of the dangers of getting behind the wheel after a few drinks, the reality is that the decline is small and there are still plenty of people out there willing to take the risk.”
Last December, West Yorkshire Police charged 183 people for drink and drug driving related offences (153 men, 30 women) - six less than in 2013
Two of those charged were for drug-driving offences
District breakdown of charges:
Leeds 70, Bradford 40, Wakefield 35, Calderdale 12, Kirklees 26
The most common age range for those charged was 25 - 34 years
Officers carried 1273 roadside breath tests in December 2014, compared to 1178 in December 2013
Assistant Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police Mark Milsom said: “During the last two years we have seen the largest number of arrests for drink and drug driving related offences for both men and women fall between the ages of 25 - 34 years. This is a generation of people that have grown up with the current drink driving laws and it’s a very concerning trend.
“It’s vitally important these people, many of which will be forging their careers and who may have a young family, realise the life-limiting consequences associated with a drink or drug driving conviction.
“There’s also the very real dangers associated with not being fit to drive. Each year we deal with a number of fatal or very serious incidents in which driving while under the influence of drink or drugs has been a major factor. This has led to the deaths of innocent drivers and pedestrians and the awful task many officers have of standing on a family’s doorstep and telling them that someone’s never coming home.
“We must do all we can do to deter people from making the choice of driving while under the influence of drink or drugs. My hope is that our daily updates will demonstrate how many people have been caught recklessly endangering their own and others’ lives, and it will make people think twice before they get behind the wheel this Christmas.”