Drink-drive arrests fall

Still campaigning, Insp Matt Bailey-Smith with the wreckage of a car involved in a drink-drive crash
Still campaigning, Insp Matt Bailey-Smith with the wreckage of a car involved in a drink-drive crash

A CRACKDOWN on drink and drug-driving over the festive period has been hailed a success by local police.

But traffic officers patrolling Wigan’s streets today said that there is no room for complacency and that those who continue put lives at risk through their recklessness cannot think that the heat is now off.

Police stopped and breathalysed 7,987 motorists during the December 1 to January 1 campaign and of those 319 were arrested, equating to 3.9 per cent of all those stopped. This is a reduction from 4.1 per cent last year. A total of 72 people tested positive following a collision while 247 were caught by officers at a roadside check site or while out on patrol.

The way statistics are now gathered means that the force is no longer able to supply figures for each division.

GMP launched its None for the Road campaign ahead of the festive period in conjunction with DriveSafe, Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service and local authority road safety teams.

A launch event was held in Wigan and leaflets and posters were distributed throughout the region. Officers also used social media to raise awareness of the dangers of driving under the influence.

Insp Matt Bailey-Smit, who led the campaign, said: “It is reassuring to see that there are fewer people putting lives in danger by drink driving but there is still a lot of work to do. But 319 people still thought it was acceptable to get behind the wheel after having a drink and it’s this kind of behaviour that leads to deaths on our roads. Drinking and driving is a deadly mix and although the festive operation may have concluded, our fight is far from over. None for the road is a message for life, not just for Christmas and officers will continue to relentlessly target those suspected of drink or drug driving until we rid the roads of this problem all together.”

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service group manager Stuart Millington said: “We’re delighted that the None for the Road campaign has been so successful over the festive period. Firefighters now rescue more people from car crashes than they do from fires. Drinking and driving is a recipe for disaster and all too often we are there to pick up the pieces.”