Police Forces across the region have been busier than they'd hoped with their drink drive campaigns this year. Since the beginning of December, Surrey Police have made 56 arrests for drink driving. In Hampshire, that number almost doubles to 101. But the highest number is in the Thames Valley, where 117 have been arrested. Drink driving can devastate lives and lead to years in prison and driving bans. The Police are today asking motorists to consider - is it really worth the risk? Juliette Fletcher has the story.
117 people have been arrested for drink-driving in the Thames Valley during the first two weeks of the Christmas anti-drink drug drive campaign. This is down 10-per-cent on the 130 arrests made in the same period last year.
The 'Is it worth the risk?' campaign was launched on Monday 1 December and is aimed at targeting drink and drug drivers over the festive period. It is estimated that over 5500 people have so far been breath tested.
Of those arrested, 93 were men and 24 were female. The oldest was a 79-year-old man arrested in Bicester and the youngest was 19 years old.
In total, 58 of the 117 arrested have been charged, 43 have been released on bail pending further enquiries and 16 people have been released with no further action. The campaign, which runs until 1 January, will see police targeting individuals they suspect of driving under the influence of drink or drugs, both on the way home from nights out and the morning after a heavy night. Of the arrests, 46 have been made in Berkshire, 44 in Buckinghamshire and 27 in Oxfordshire.
Chief Inspector for Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Roads Policing Unit, Henry Parsons said: "It's worrying that some people are still making the wrong choices, deciding to drink and drive when there are alternatives available. I'm grateful for the public support for this campaign that has helped us to be in the right places, at the right times to make these arrests. We'll continue to target drink drivers every single day of the year, not just during campaign periods. It isn't worth the risk."
Thames Valley Police is re-appealing for information about the historic murder of Michael Meenaghan on the twentieth anniversary of his death today.
Just before 4.30pm on 10 December 1994 a 999 call to police was made from the home of Dr Meenaghan, a 33-year-old research scientist, in Monks Close, Blackbird Leys.
No speech could be heard. However, someone struggling to breathe was heard in the background.
Officers attended the property and found Dr Meenaghan. He had been shot and died from his injuries.
The investigation concluded that a shotgun was fired through a kitchen window at the rear of the house.
Despite extensive enquiries, the murder remains undetected and continues to be investigated by the Major Crime Investigations Review Team.
A £10,000 reward is being offered by Thames Valley Police for information which leads to the arrest and conviction of the offender. A reward of up to £10,000 is also being offered by independent charity Crimestoppers, also for information leading to a conviction of the offender.
Thames Valley Police is appealing for witnesses after a man was hit by a car and seriously injured in Oxfordshire.
At around 1am, a red Hyundai collided with the 19-year-old pedestrian on the A4260 between Twyford and Bodicote.
Police say he sustained life-threatening head injuries and was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital, where he remains in a critical condition.
The incident has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). The referral is in relation to police contact with the man before the collision.
Detectives are appealing for anyone with information to contact them.
Hampshire Constabulary Road Safety Sergeant, Rob Heard said: “These figures show that over a six year period 276 drivers between the ages of 14 and 17, were arrested on suspicion of drink driving in Hampshire. The vast majority of these were males aged 17.
“While this figure is higher than some other Force areas in the UK up to the end of 2013, it reflects the significant efforts that are made across Hampshire and on the Isle of Wight to prevent driving while impaired through drink or drugs.
"Each of these arrests potentially represents a life, or lives, saved on our roads and this research demonstrates that we are detecting these offences effectively.
“Interestingly the figures for 2012 and 2013 are significantly reduced by more than two thirds compared to the figure from 2008.
"This ongoing decline seems to demonstrate that our educational messages to young drivers are being heard clearly.
"One such example is our 'Safe Drive, Stay Alive' series of educational presentations in colleges and community centres across the county.
"These take place every November, with the first of these being held at King's Community Church in Hedge End on Thursday, November 13.
“Many teenagers understand that if you choose to drink or drug drive, we will catch you, you will go to court and you will lose your licence.
"We are determined to reduce casualties on our roads and our success in identifying people who drive while impaired through drink or drugs is just one element of our work to do so”.
"If you have concerns about someone that you suspect of driving while impaired you can report this anonymously to crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. You can also register for 'Safe Drive, Stay Alive' events online at www.safedrive.org.uk."
An eleven year old child has been stopped by police targeting drink drivers in the Thames Valley.
Statistics show in Hampshire more than two hundred drink drivers under the age of eighteen were caught in the six years to 2013.
An average of 1,000 under-18s have been convicted of drink-driving per year since 2008, according to police figures obtained by in-car camera provider Nextbase.
The statistics showed there were an average of five drink-drivers under 18 caught each week since 2008.
"Uninsured drivers on UK roads pose a huge threat to the safety of the vast majority of responsible motorists and pedestrians. These threats come in many forms and today's findings go to show that it's not just those who illegally choose not to buy insurance. Motorists have to be aware of such threats and take appropriate measures to mitigate the risk."
"Tackling drink-driving is a priority for the Government and we are taking steps to strengthen enforcement, including allowing roadside breath tests to be used as evidence in prosecutions and removing the statutory right of drivers to demand a blood or urine test at the police station which can give them time to sober up. We have also made it a requirement for convicted drink-drivers to take medical tests to prove they are no longer alcohol-dependent before being allowed to drive. Under-age driving is illegal and no person under the age of 17 should be driving a car. We have tough laws in place to tackle those caught driving without a licence. Drink-driving is a menace that costs lives, and the Government is strengthening the law to help police crack down on this problem."
A summer campaign launched by Thames Valley Police to crack down on drink driving saw 240 people arrested.
During the month of June, hundreds were arrested for driving with excess alcohol.
Of those arrested, 129 have been charged, 71 have been bailed and 40 released with no further action.
There was a slight decrease of men arrested, with 197 arrested this year compared with 200 last year but there was an increase of 10% in arrests of women.
Chief Superintendent Lucy Hutson said:
Each drink driver arrested and taken off the road helps to make our roads safer and prevents potential death or serious injury. Each death and serious injury we prevent stops pain and devastation to an even wider circle of family and friends.”
A 35-year-old man has been arrested after another man was found with a head injury in Bampton.
The man from Minster Lovell was arrested in connection with the injury in Pembroke Place on the 28th May.
The man was assaulted in Market Squaren in Bampton between 4am and 8am.
The 33-year-old victim was helped by a member of the public before paramedics arrived and took him to Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.
He required surgery and has since been transferred to Witney Community Hospital while awaiting further surgery.
Thames Valley Police is appealing for anyone with information about the incident to call 101.
The Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) today agreed an historic Growth Deal with the Government, which will see £96.9million invested in Thames Valley Berkshire.
The Thames Valley Berkshire Growth Deal is part of a £12 billion long-term programme to revitalise local economies. The deals are the latest example of the British economy being rebuilt from the bottom up, and sharing the benefits of the recovery around the country.
£17million has been confirmed in the first year, while an indicative award of a further £79.9million has been allocated from 2016/17 onwards. The deal will create up to 17,000 jobs, 10,000 homes and leverage a further £20million in public and private investment.
The key features of the deal are:
- Thames Valley Berkshire LEP has also landed £250k funding for continuation of the Thames Valley Berkshire Business Growth Hub.
- Delivery of essential housing at flagship sites in Newbury, Wokingham and Bracknell to help young people across the area get on the property ladder.
- Three new 'Solutions Labs', which will equip our young people with Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths skills to support our tech-focused business base and the new Thames Valley Science Parl.
- A package of road and public transport investments to improve connectivity and reduce journey
Growth Deals are a crucial part of our long-term plan to secure Britain's future. They are about firing up our great towns and cities, boosting local economies and driving growth across the country. This historic deal means real change for people in Berkshire and the Thames Valley with big investments including new funding for transport infrastructure that will improve journeys and connectivity, while opening up areas for new housing, redevelopment and growth. Young people will benefit too, with new facilities that will ensure they have the skills to support local hi-tech businesses."
Thames Valley Police are appealing for witnesses after a sexual assault in Oxford.
An 18-year-old woman was walking in St James' Cemetery between Beauchamp Lane and Church Hill Road in Cowley last night, at around 11:30pm.
Two men approached the woman whilst she was walking through, when one of them grabbed her whilst the other sexually assaulted her.
She was treated at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford for a black eye and scratches to her face, but has now been discharged.
There is no description of the men at this stage in the investigation.
Anyone who may have been in the area at that time or saw something suspicious is asked to contact the Thames Valley Police Enquiry Centre on 101.