Drink and drug driving arrests doubled in Harrogate during police crackdown

Police have cracked down on drug and drink driving across North Yorkshire.
Police have cracked down on drug and drink driving across North Yorkshire.

A Christmas crackdown on drink driving has seen a 100 per cent increase in people arrested on Harrogate roads compared to last year.

North Yorkshire Police today released the results of the annual Christmas crackdown under Operation Attention, the force's ongoing campaign to combat drink and drug driving.

Op Attention is a year-round operation, but has a particular focus across the Christmas period and summer months, when the instances of drink and drug driving are known to increase.

2016 in Harrogate alone saw the total number of people arrested double, with the figures rising from 16 in 2015 to 32 throughout last year.

Deputy Chief Constable Tim Madgwick said: “Throughout the year and particularly at Christmas, we issue numerous warnings about the dangers and consequences of drink and drug driving and the fact that officers will be out in force, targeting these offences.

"This is why it is both shocking and astounding to see that some still choose to ignore the warnings and not only risk arrest and prosecution, but the physical safety of themselves and other road users.

“Over 1,300 breath tests have been conducted throughout the course of this campaign, and we now have more officers than ever who have undergone specialist drug driving training.

"With the use of tools such as the drug wipe roadside testing equipment, we are making a significant number of drug driving arrests and have seen a 37.5 per cent increase compared to last year’s figures.

“Although the Christmas campaign has drawn to a close, as ever, our determination to ensure that the roads remain safe for the public of North Yorkshire remains resolute and we will persist in targeting drink and drug drivers throughout the year.

“I’d also like to thank the members of the public who picked up the phone and reported drink and drug drivers to us. Your actions directly led to arrests being made and ultimately lives being saved.”

Across the county, the number of arrests for drink and drug driving increased by 10.5 per cent - from 124 between December 1 2015 - 1 January 2016 to 137 made in the same period between 2016 and 2017.

Of the 137 arrests made over this campaign, the largest increase was seen in arrests for drug driving as the campaign caught some 44 people compared to 32 in 2015/16.

But the 2016/17 campaign saw 93 arrests for drink driving - just one more arrest on the year before.

12 people have already appeared at court and been convicted, with another 40 cases pending.

From the 12 cases already heard, magistrates have ordered a total of £7,788 to be paid in fines and associated court costs and the driving bans served so far 32 years have been served.

Officers have conducted over 1,300 breath tests throughout the course of the campaign and the highest reading registered was 118ug, from a 36-year-old man from York arrested on the first day of the campaign (December 1 2016).

The average reading of the campaign has been 46.8ug per 100ml of breath – the legal limit is 35ug per 100ml.