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Christmas drink-drive arrests were up 9.1 per cent on last year, Hampshire Constabulary’s Op Holly figures show.
During the campaign, which ran from December 1 to January 1, 240 people were arrested on suspicion of impaired driving.
Of those arrested, 176 [73.3 per cent] have been charged, with 35 [14.6 per cent] bailed pending further enquiries and 29 [12.1 per cent] having no further action taken against them.
Chief Constable Alex Marshall said the figures were still ‘extremely disappointing’, despite the last minute drop in drink-drive arrests on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Of those stopped over the two days, 21 motorists were arrested on suspicion of drink or drug driving – down nine arrests on last year [30 per cent]. Of the 21 arrested, 17 were charged – sevenfewer than last year.
“This may be an improvement on last year, but 21 arrests for drink-driving is still 21 too many,” said Mr Marshall.
“While I am satisfied that many offenders have been caught and will now be prosecuted, the figures are still disappointingly high.
“Throughout this campaign and throughout the year, every year, we try to hammer home the dangers of drink driving. This year two of my officers shared their experiences at the scene of a fataldrink-drive collision and a convicted driver warned others of how that one for the road can turn your life upside down.
“I am at a loss as to how with this information, people are still ignorant enough – or arrogant enough – to get behind the wheel after drinking.”
Hampshire Constabulary has arrested 197 men and 43 women on suspicion of drink driving – an 82.1 to 17.9 per cent split respectively.
The 20 to 24 year age group had the higher number of arrests with 55 [22.9 per cent of the total]. The 17 to 19 year age group had the least amount of arrests, with 12 [five per cent] followed by the over 60s with 16 [6.67per cent].
By area, north and east Hampshire had the highest number of arrests with 68 [28.33 per cent], followed by central Hampshire including Gosport, Fareham, Havant and Winchester with 50 arrests [20.83per cent].
The Isle of Wight had the lowest number of arrests with 16 [6.67 per cent] followed by Portsmouth with 28 [11.67 per cent]. Southampton accounted for 37 arrested persons [15.42 per cent] and western Hampshire, including Test Valley, Eastleigh and New Forest area accounted for 40 [16.67 per cent]. One person was arrested on the force border.
“It is really very simple,” said Mr Marshall. “If you need to drive somewhere, don’t drink. If it’s the morning after a night out, allow yourself adequate time to sober-up before getting in thecar.
“By drinking and driving you demonstrate a complete lack of respect for your own life and the lives of others. You face a big financial penalty, losing your licence, your job and the respectof those around you – and that’s if you don’t kill someone.
“There is no excuse. Just don’t do it.”