Borough’s dire record of drink drive shame

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Shocking figures have revealed that one person was arrested every day during December for drink or drug driving offences in the borough.

In total, 32 people were arrested in the borough for driving over the drink or drug limit during the month as part of Greater Manchester Police’s annual festive operation to target people who get behind the wheel after one too many, a freedom of information request has revealed.

Of those arrested in Wigan, 18 were later charged with an offence, which includes failing to provide a specimen and being unfit to drive through drink or drugs.

Wigan had the fourth highest number of arrests out of the 13 divisions in Greater Manchester, with only North Manchester, 35, South Manchester, 33 and Salford, 34, seeing more arrests.

Similarly, Wigan came joint fourth for the highest number of people charged alongside South Manchester where charges were brought against 18 people.

In North Manchester, 21 people were charged, 20 in Tameside and 19 in Salford.

Excluding the airport and traffic divisions were there were just two arrests and one charge for both combined, Stockport saw the least arrests with 12 resulting in only six people being charged. Rochdale only saw 16 arrests but 14 people were charged.

Across Greater Manchester, officers arrested a total 324 drink drivers and 80 drug drivers between December 1, 2015, and January 1, 2016, as part of the festive operation, an increase of 21 per cent on the same period in 2014/15 when 273 drink drivers and 44 drug drivers arrested.

The number of people arrested for driving whilst under the influence of drugs almost doubled, something which officers attribute to the introduction of new legislation and roadside drug testing kits that enable officers to check for drugs.

Insp Susan Redfern from the Road Policing Unit said: “It’s disappointing that in this day and age there are so many people putting lives at risk by choosing to drive with drugs or alcohol in their system.”

“Each of those 404 people arrested made a very poor decision to drive under the influence and that decision has potentially cost them their licence, career and self-respect. I’m only glad we caught them before it cost them their life or, worse still, somebody else’s.

“Although our Christmas operation has finished, rest assured that catching drink and drug drivers remains a priority for us and officers will continue to test motorists that they suspect are causing danger on our roads.

“If you are going out where there may be temptation to drink, then please do the right thing and leave the car at home and arrange alternative transport, or stick to none for the road.”

To report a drink or drug driver contact Greater Manchester Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.