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Ipswich Star and Suffolk Constabulary launch their Christmas anti-drink-drive campaigns

PUBLISHED: 15:43 01 December 2016 | UPDATED: 15:43 01 December 2016

Sergeant Julian Ditcham breathalyzes a motorist

Sergeant Julian Ditcham breathalyzes a motorist

Suffolk Constabulary and the Ipswich Star today launched their Christmas anti-drink-drive campaigns.

For the last 20 years the Star has covered as many drink-drivers caught between December 1 and January 1 as possible when their cases have come before Suffolk courts.

The paper is pledging to continue naming and shaming those who get behind the wheel while drunk in a bid to deter motorists from doing so.

Ipswich Star Editor Brad Jones said: “We believe it is vital to do whatever we can to help ensure people do not drink and drive, not only over the festive period, but at all times.

“We support Suffolk Constabulary’s crackdown and hope police will keep up the pressure in their efforts to eradicate the scourge of drink-driving and protect the public.”

According to Suffolk police figures in the first 10 months of this year 498 drivers arrested on drink-driving related offences were subsequently charged. In 2015 a total of 613 motorists appeared before the county’s courts.

During last year’s Christmas drink-drive crackdown police said they made 172 arrests in Suffolk, 60 more than in 2014.

Earlier this year officers revealed nearly double the number of people tested in December 2015 (9% of the 1,920 drivers) were over the limit compared to 5% (109 out of 2,190) the previous December.

Police are warning motorists that drink-driving is not worth the risk of losing their licence, livelihood and potentially their liberty or life.

December’s month-long operation against driving under the influence of drink or drugs will see officers in both counties carrying out extra patrols and roadside checks.

Any driver who is stopped due to concerns over the manner of their driving, a vehicle defect or is involved in a collision will be breathalysed.

Throughout the campaign roads policing officers will be using social media to share messages and provide updates on campaign results using @NSRoadsPolicing and via Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies Facebook pages.

Chief Inspector Kris Barnard, head of the joint Roads Policing and Firearms Operations Unit, said: “Drink-driving has become socially unacceptable – more so now than ever – and that’s why we will often receive phone calls from members of the public reporting suspected drink-drivers.

“We will always act on any information given to us and please don’t think the rural nature of the counties affords you protection because it doesn’t.

“Anyone caught faces a minimum 12-18 month ban and I would urge people to take a moment and think seriously about how that would affect their life; driving to work or college, childcare arrangements, school runs, socialising and visiting family. The impact of losing your licence is enormous.

“Worst still, you could injure or kill yourself or someone else. Drink driving isn’t worth the risk.”

The campaign starts today and will see officers carrying out roadside checks throughout the day – including early morning checks – as well as intelligence-led tactics covering hotspots.

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