Drink Drive Arrests Up 20%

Drink-drive arrests across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight are up 20 per cent on the same period last year.

Officers arrested 72 people on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol between the start of the 2012 summer campaign on June 1 and yesterday. (June 10)

The figures reflect a 20 per cent increase on last year's 60 arrests within the same period.

Op Solar 2012 got off to an encouraging start with a 12 per cent drop in arrests in the first four days of the campaign compared to last year's May bank holiday weekend.

Superintendant Chris Brown, head of roads policing for Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police believes this is down to the number of street parties held over the jubilee weekend.

"There were approximately 500 licensed street parties and celebrations across the two counties over the four day holiday, meaning many people stayed close to home," he said.

"It was an encouraging start but one we thought might have been down to the occasion the country was marking at the time.

"Sadly, as the figures show, detected drink-driving offences for this summer period are so far up on last year, which is not good news.

"If you're off to the pub or a mate's house to watch a Euro 2012 match over the next few weeks, make arrangements get home safely. Leave your car keys at home if you'll be tempted to drive and book a taxi or get someone to
pick you up."

The force's Western Area accounted for the most arrests [46 per cent], with 21 in Southampton, eight in the Eastleigh and Romsey district and four in the New Forest.

The Eastern Area had 35 per cent of overall arrests with eight on the Isle of Wight, seven in Portsmouth, five in Fareham and Gosport district and five in Havant.

In the Northern Area, where 19 per cent of overall arrests were made, Hart and Rushmoor district saw the highest number with five, followed by Basingstoke and Deane with four, Andover with three and Winchester and the surrounding
area with two.

Of those arrested 55 have been charged [76 per cent], 14 released with no further action [19 per cent] and three bailed pending further enquiries.

Officers arrested 61 men [85 per cent] and 11 women [15 per cent] with the oldest person arrested so far being a 71-year-old man and the youngster an 18-year-old man.

Supt Brown said:

"Drink-driving kills. You take a risk every time you get behind the wheel as it is so adding a few drinks into the equation is a recipe for disaster.

"Don't drink and drive. Think of your family. Think of the family of those who might get in your way. If that won't stop you, in practical terms; a conviction will stay on your license for 11 years which could affect your ability to get a job, you'll struggle to hire a car for a decade and you can expect a massive increase on your car insurance too.

"It's simply not worth it."