• Figures show that although Covid restrictions meant there were fewer people on the roads this Christmas, more were arrested for drink and drug driving related offences
  • Twice the number of drivers under the influence of drugs were detected compared to last year; drink driving showed little change
  • ‘Operation Restraint’, the annual Christmas campaign in which officers carried out more than 800 breath tests and drugs wipes ran throughout December 2020
  • PCC Martin Surl’s Police and Crime Plan lead on his ‘Safe and Social Roads’ priority, Nigel Lloyd-Jones said: “These figures are very concerning, especially the increase in people driving under the influence of drugs”.

Twice the amount of drug drivers were on our roads this winter compared to last year, despite Covid-19 restrictions reducing the amount of people going to pubs.

130 people were arrested for drink or drug driving related offences over the course of the Constabulary’s winter anti-drink and drug drive campaign, compared to 98 people arrested during the same period last year.

70 people were arrested for drug driving offences, compared to 36 people during the same operation last year; a further 60 were arrested for drink driving offences, compared to 61 last year.

Of those 130 people arrested during the campaign, 43 have been charged and are due to attend Cheltenham Magistrates Court, where penalties can include custodial sentences, unlimited fines and lengthy driving bans.

“These figures are very concerning”

The figures are the result of ‘Operation Restraint’, which ran throughout December 2020 as part of Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl’s commitment to Safe and Social Roads. In total, 883 breath tests were carried out during the period.

Mr. Surl’s ‘Safe and Social Roads’ priority lead Nigel Lloyd-Jones said, “These figures are very concerning, especially when we consider there were fewer tests because there were fewer people on the roads.

“Even more disturbing is the increase in people driving under the influence of drugs – almost twice as many as last year. If they believe drugs are less likely to be detected than alcohol, this operation shows they are wrong.

“I hope this sends a clear message to those who continue to think the law doesn’t apply to them that they will not get away with it. Driving under the influence of drinks or drugs puts all road users at risk. It is dangerous and highly irresponsible”.

“A small but stubborn section won’t listen to our warnings”

Gloucestershire Constabulary Chief Inspector Al Barby said: “Throughout the various tier changes last month our teams were out on the roads conducting breath tests and drugs wipes in order to keep Gloucestershire roads safe by removing dangerous drivers.

“Our roads policing officers, supported by the Special Constabulary, response and local policing teams, did a fantastic job in covering every part of the county.

“Seeing this number of arrests is however disappointing as it shows there’s still a small but stubborn section of society who won’t listen to our warnings and continue to drive under the influence, putting their own and others’ lives at risk.

“I want these people to know that we will be continuing roadside operations throughout the year and that if they ignore the possible consequences of drink and drug driving then we will arrest them and they will be taken to court.”