PSNI see rise in the number of arrests for drink and drug driving across Northern Ireland

Police said there was a rise in the number of drink and drug driving arrests over the course of their festive crackdown.

Between the 1 December 2022 and 1 January 2022, the PSNI arrested 308 people on suspicion of drink and drug driving as part of the winter drink and drug operation.

That was nine more than the same period last year.

The youngest arrested was 16 while the oldest was 83. Police also said one reading was the highest ever recorded at four times over the limit.

Among those arrested was a senior police officer. Chief Superintendent Patricia Foy hit a traffic crossing, a parked car and left the scene of an accident while driving to the shops on Christmas eve. Her solicitor said she had taken "three or four" large gins.

A court was told her career was in jeopardy. She was disqualified from driving and fined. Police said they would not comment on the matter while internal disciplinary processes continued.

Chief Superintendent Patricia Foy (57) outside court.

Of the latest figures, Superintendent Gary Busch said: "When we launched our winter drink and drug drive operation, we warned drivers not to take any risks by drinking or taking drugs and driving.“Unfortunately, 308 people ignored our warning. They now find themselves facing the prospect of starting the New Year with a court appearance and losing their driving license, which may have a huge impact on their life, that of their family and possibly their career.“Those 308 arrests reflect 308 occasions where your police service has prevented a potentially serious or fatal road traffic collision.“It is disappointing that a minority of people continue to disregard the safety of themselves and others, by taking the incredibly dangerous risk of driving after drinking or taking drugs.”

The officer continued: “It is also clear from our arrests, that significantly more men than women are being detected (males accounted for 86.4% of arrests), while almost half of those arrested were aged between 30 and 49 years of age.“The youngest person detected was 16 years of age and the eldest 83 years of age. The highest detection was 157μg/100ml over four times the legal limit of 35μg/100ml. This detection is not only one of highest recorded, but also one of the most shocking.“Our message is clear. Never ever drink and drive. Just one drink can impair decision making. Just one drink can cause a collision. Just one drink could kill.“We will continue to focus our operational activity on road safety issues. We all share the roads. This means we all share the responsibility for road safety."

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