Suffolk/Norfolk: Police launch new device to detect drug-drivers

A police breathalyser machine A police breathalyser machine

Wednesday, June 4, 2014
9:12 PM

A new device detecting cannabis in drivers has been rolled out across Norfolk and Suffolk as part of a summer crackdown on drink and drug driving.

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The drug testing devices will be used at the six police investigation centres across both counties from today and means drivers suspected of taking cannabis will be tested using this technology for the first time.

Chief Inspector Chris Spinks, head of the joint Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Policing Unit, said the equipment would help simplify the process of securing evidence for drug driving prosecutions.

He said: “People who drive after taking drugs are quite literally dicing with death and using this equipment shows our commitment to tackling drug driving and making our roads safer.

“Driving under the influence of drink or drugs impairs your judgement making your reactions slower and therefore putting lives at risk.

“These kits will make it easier for officers to test for cannabis and hopefully act as a deterrent to those considering getting behind the wheel after the drug.”

The launch comes as officers take part in the month long summer drink-drive campaign, stopping and breathalysing as many drivers as possible at all times of day to reinforce the £don’t drink and drive£ message and promote safer road use.

Currently, officers will carry out a field impairment test (FIT) at the roadside to check if a driver is under the influence of drugs.

These tests involve exercises, such as walking heel-to-toe in a straight line, which aim to show if someone has taken drugs with officers looking for signs of drivers being unbalanced on their feet, swaying or tripping. Driver’s eyes are also checked as part of the tests, with drugs affecting pupil size.

During last year’s joint campaign 4,648 people were stopped and breathalysed with 174 drivers risking their lives and the lives of others by drinking and driving.

Ch Insp Spinks added: “We target suspected drink and drug drivers all year round but this campaigns allows us to raise awareness of the dangers, which a minority of motorists still chose to ignore.”

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