17 Drink-Drive Arrests Already

Smashed was launched on Saturday [December 1] and is aimed at targeting drink and drug-drivers around the festive season - when Hampshire Police see the highest number of impairment-related driving offences.

Between 12.01am on Saturday and 11.59pm on Sunday, 17 people, 13 men [76 per cent] and four women [24 per cent] were arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence of alcohol.

The figure shows a 15 per cent reduction on arrests during the same period in 2011.

Of those arrested, 14 were charged [82 per cent] and three were bailed pending further enquiries [18 per cent].

So far, the youngest person arrested was 18 years old and the oldest was 62.

The campaign, which runs until January 1, 2013, will see police targeting individuals they suspect of driving under the influence of drink or drugs, both on the way home from nights out and the morning after.

Chief Inspector Andy Bottomley, of the Joint Operations Unit roads policing for Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police, said:

"To have made 17 arrests already is hugely disappointing, even if that is a reduction on the same time period last year.

"We hear a lot of excuses from people when we arrest them, from 'I concentrate better when I have been drinking' to 'I've only had one'. Be sure and be safe - don't drive at all if you've been drinking. There's no excuse for it and no legitimate reason for taking that risk.

"We're committing more resources to drink-driving operations this year than ever before so if you're on the road and you've been drinking, chances are we will find you.

"Our message is simple: don't drink and drive."

East Hampshire saw the highest number of arrests [41 per cent] with seven; three in Fareham, three in Portsmouth and one on the Isle of Wight. North Hampshire was next [35 per cent] with six arrested; four in Basingstoke and two in Andover and finally West Hampshire saw four people arrested for driving under the influence [24 per cent]. Of those two were from Southampton, one was from the New Forest and one was from the Eastleigh and Romsey district.

Hampshire Constabulary is asking members of the public across the two counties to text 80999 to report anyone they suspect of driving drink or being drug impaired behind the wheel.

The information will be received anonymously, and senders simply need to text the precise location where the driver was last seen, direction of travel if possible, and as many vehicle details as possible - most importantly the number plate.

The number is a text-only service, and will not take phone calls but anyone witnessing a drink drive offence in progress can call 999.

Ch Insp Bottomley added:

"Please save 80999 in your phone. If you have any suspicions that someone is drink-driving please text us - as long as you're not driving yourself of course.

"We'll need as many details as possible such as colour, make, model, location, direction of travel and - most importantly - the registration number of the car.

"By reporting those you suspect of driving under the influence of drink or drugs you could be saving someone's life, whether it's the offenders or the innocent passenger, pedestrian, cyclist or fellow motorist who gets in their way."