Almost 6,000 breathalysed as 115 are arrested in December

Deputy Chief Constable Suzette Davenport doing a breath test on a driver.
Deputy Chief Constable Suzette Davenport doing a breath test on a driver.

Police arrested 115 drink drivers in December and throughout the Christmas period, after officers carried out a record number of breath tests.

Northamptonshire Police this afternoon revealed almost 6,000 people were breathalysed during the force’s annual festive crackdown on drink driving, almost double the number of the previous year’s operation.

Throughout December, officers breathalysed 5,732 people across Northamptonshire, arresting 115 people for failing tests.

The figure is just two fewer than during the 2011 campaign, when 117 people were arrested.

However, in 2011 just 2,532 roadside tests were carried out, less than half the number this year.

Police say they are “cautiously” optimistic drivers are finally getting the message about the force’s zero-tolerance approach to drink driving at Christmas.

Deputy Chief Constable Suzette Davenport said: “We made a concerted effort to increase the number of breath tests we carried out this year and that is reflected in an almost doubling in the number of motorists who were stopped.

“Even though we did breathalyse more people, the number over the limit was slightly less. This is something I cautiously welcome and hope it means that motorists are finally starting to think before they get behind the wheel after having a drink.

Of the 115 people who were arrested this year 78 have already been charged, with investigations continuing on the others.

Seven of the arrests were made between 7am and noon, during the so-called ‘the morning after’, while 24 were young drivers aged between 17 and 24.

During the campaign, which ran from December 1 to January 1, a series of co-ordinated roadside operations took place, at all times of the day and night.

All drivers involved in road traffic collisions or spotted driving dangerously were also subjected to breath tests.

DCC Davenport, who is also the ACPO lead for roads policing, added: “Our aim is to not only stop any motorists who think it is okay to drive while over the limit but also to educate all motorists about the dangers of drink and drug driving. Officers take the opportunity to speak to those motorists they pull over about the rules of the road and what the consequences could be if they do decide to drink and drive.

“Officers carry out breath tests throughout the year as part of our ‘Fatal Four’ campaign, not just at Christmas, and at all times of the day and night. Any amount of alcohol can impair your driving, even if you are below the legal limit, so we would advise people to abstain from drinking alcohol completely if they intend to get behind the wheel.”