Percentage of positive drink drive tests up

There has been an increase in the percentage of positive tests in this summer's drink and drug drive campaign, according to the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC).

There has been an increase in the percentage of positive tests in this summers drink and drug drive campaign, according to the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC).

A ‘targeted approach’ has led to figures which show a 25 per cent year-on-year reduction in the number of breath tests administered, however there was only an 11 per cent fall in those that were positive, refused or failed, leading to the overall increase.

The campaign, which ran from June 10 to July 10, saw 45,267 tests administered, of which 4,539 (10 per cent) returned positive, refused or failed. Compared to the corresponding figures for previous years: 8.46 per cent in 2015 (60,096 tests: 5,085 failed); 5.8 per cent in 2014 (63,688 tests: 2,929 failed); and 4.51 per cent in 2013 (100,892 tests, 3,839 failed), there is an almost 5 per cent increase in comparison to the years 2013 to 2014, and around a 2 per cent increase from last years statistcs.

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The campaign also featured a new drug driving swab kits which is in use for the first time. 2,588 drug screening devices were administered, with, 1,028 (39.7 per cent) of those devices returning a positive reading.

The NPCC says that officers targeted drink drive ‘hotspots’ and describes the results as ‘encouraging’, while expressing disappointment that motorists continue to drive while under the influence. Although, road safety charity Brake has described the figures as ‘worrying’, saying that it is “impossible to know” whether the targeted strategy was a success.

Chief constable Suzette Davenport, NPCC’s lead for roads policing said, “It is encouraging to see that our intelligence led approach continues to work – fewer tests administered but increased criminal justice outcomes, with forces actively targeting hotspots and using their local knowledge to get drink and drug drivers off our roads. We remind those who drive when intoxicated that police forces across the country are better equipped than ever before to detect and prosecute drivers who ignore the law.”

Gary Rae, Brake’s director of communications and campaigns, commented that, “the latest national figures from the police show worrying signs, with a large drop in the amount of people being tested but an increase in those who tested positive, failed or refusing the test. With traffic police numbers on the decline, it’s leaving those who enforce the law with very little resources to catch those who do break the law and despite the police claims of a successful targeted strategy, the degree to which this is actually the case is impossible to know.”