Hundreds of arrests in Sussex during drink and drug driving crackdown

Sussex recorded a 20 per cent rise in the number of people arrested for drink or drug driving in the latest annual winter crackdown, Sussex Police have said.

The month-long campaign ran from December 1 to January 1 and police said that 257 arrests were made in Sussex in total.

This was up from 212 arrests in the same period last year, they said.

Police also reported 137 arrests for drug-driving, 111 for drink-driving, and nine arrests for both drink and drug-driving.

Chief Constable Jo Shiner is also the National Police Chiefs' Council lead for road policing. Picture: Sussex Police.

Chief Constable Jo Shiner, who is also the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for road policing, said it was alarming that 58 arrests were made following collisions.

“Our officers have heard all the excuses but there is no excuse for drink and drug-driving” she said, adding that the ‘selfish minority’ who drive under the influence put their own safety and the safety of everyone else at risk.

“The arrests we have made in our campaign show our officers are determined to catch offenders, and those suspected, and keep our roads safe,” she said.

Sussex Police said they are determined to reduce the number of people who are killed or seriously injured on roads each year.

They have invested extra resources in roads policing with additional officers in 2020 and the introduction of the Specialist Enforcement Unit, a dedicated team to target criminals using the road network.

During this year’s campaign, officers carried out more than 4,500 stop checks on motorists across Sussex.

Police said that of these, 1,591 drivers completed roadside breath tests, 319 drivers completed roadside DrugWipe tests, and a 18 motorists completed roadside field impairment tests.

Chief Inspector Michael Hodder, from the Surrey and Sussex Roads Policing Unit (RPU) called the statistics ‘disheartening’.

“Although most road users are conscientious and law-abiding citizens, there is a stubborn minority of people who refuse to comply with the law,” he said.

“These people may think that nothing bad is going to happen to them, but in reality even a small amount of alcohol or drugs can impair your judgement and seriously increase the risk of you injuring or killing yourself or someone else,” he added.

Chief Inspector Hodder said the people that have been arrested and convicted will be publicly named on the Sussex Police website and social media platforms.

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “The figures from Sussex Police’s Christmas drink and drug driving campaign show that five per cent of the 4,500 drivers stopped during the period were arrested after showing a positive test result.

“With hundreds of thousands of vehicles using our roads day and night this could mean that thousands of people are taking the roads unfit to drive.”

During the campaign, Sussex Police highlighted the experience of Nicola Bailey, whose father Nicholas Bailey, 74, died in Crawley Down when he was hit by a drink-driver.

Sussex Police said officers work to stop drink and drug drivers all year round, and will continue to be on patrol.

They said the consequences of drink or drug-driving could include: killing or seriously injuring yourself or someone else, a minimum 12-month ban, an unlimited fine, a possible prison sentence, a criminal record, an increase in your car insurance costs, or trouble travelling to countries like the USA.

People who know someone is driving while over the limit or after taking drugs are advised to call 999.

People can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or report it online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

The campaign is supported by the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership and DriveSmart in Surrey.