Police arrested 184 in drink-driving campaign – but many were ‘alcohol dependent’ and not party-goers

PUBLISHED: 12:25 11 January 2017

Operation Tonic seeks to remind drivers it is not safe to get behind the wheel after taking drugs or having alcohol.

Operation Tonic seeks to remind drivers it is not safe to get behind the wheel after taking drugs or having alcohol.

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A police campaign to target drink-drivers during December has seen more than 100 people charged with drink or drug-driving.

Police charged more people with drink-driving between December 1, 2016 and New Year's Day than the equivalent time period 12 months previously.Police charged more people with drink-driving between December 1, 2016 and New Year's Day than the equivalent time period 12 months previously.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary ran its Operation Tonic campaign from December 1 to January 1. A total of 184 people were arrested and 117 people were charged – an increase from 155 arrests and 96 charges last year.

The police named and shamed every person it charged for a short time during the Christmas period, to act as an additional deterrent for anyone considering getting behind the wheel while under the influence.

The force’s head of road safety, Chief Inspector Kevan Rowlands, said he was ‘disappointed’ more than 100 people were charged, but ‘thrilled’ with the public response.

He said calls from the public had a ‘significant impact’ on the police’s ability to catch offenders, and added: “It is clear to me the vast majority of people see the danger caused by drink and drug-drivers and are willing to do something about it by reporting offenders to the police.

“We’ve reviewed all the arrests and many are not related to the party season, which means our message about not driving after a night out seems to be getting through.”

He said many of those arrested had alcohol or drug dependencies, and added: “If you have a friend or relative that fits this category then please reach out to them and get them to stop driving.”

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