Hampshire Drink-Drive Arrests Down 19%

Police arrested 593 people during Hampshire Constabulary's summer drink-drive campaign Op Solar this year - a 19 per cent reduction 2011.

Of this year's 593 arrests - made between June 1 and September 3 - 445 (75 per cent) people have been charged with driving under the influence, three (1 per cent) have been bailed pending further enquiries and 145 (24 per cent) have been released with no further action.

Of those arrested, males accounted for 482 (81 per cent) and females accounted for 111 (19 per cent).

Chief Inspector Andy Bottomley of Hampshire Constabulary Roads Policing Unit, said:

 "It is encouraging to see a reduction in the number of drink-drivers this summer. But while we have arrested fewer people this year, 593 is still too great a number. Sadly this demonstrates that drink-driving is still an issue which many people do not take seriously.

"For those out there who drink and drive I have this message; You are an accident waiting to happen. It just takes one wrong move, one delayed reaction and my officers could be knocking on your family's door to tell them you're dead. Worse still, my officers could be knocking on another family's door to tell them their loved one is dead because of you."

The majority of arrests were made in the Northern Area (35 per cent) with 64 in Hart and Rushmoor, 63 in East Hampshire and Winchester, 50 in Basingstoke and Deane and 31 in Andover.

The Western Area saw 195 people (33 per cent) arrested for driving under the influence. Of those, 106 people in Southampton, 48 in Eastleigh and Romsey and 41 in the New Forest.

The remaining 32 per cent of arrests were made in the force's Eastern Area. Police arrested 56 people in Portsmouth, 53 on the Isle of Wight, 43 in Havant and 38 in Fareham and Gosport.

The youngest person arrested was a 16-year-old boy and the oldest was a 79-year-old man. The average age of those arrested was 36 years.

August saw the most arrests this year with 201 followed by June with 188 and July with 186. The first three days of September saw 18 arrests.

Last year the campaign's busiest month was July with 279 arrests, then August with 234 followed by June with 188. The first three days of September 2011 saw 27 people arrested.

Ch Insp Bottomley said:

"Next to Christmas, we see the greatest number of drink-driving offences in the summer months. And while our summer campaign is now over, we will still be on the roads running drink-drive operations as we always do.

"There is no excuse for drink driving. It's just not worth the risk."