‘Tis the season to be jolly… but not while driving. Drink and drug driving numbers tend to be higher over the Christmas period, but now those caught drink or drug driving over the 2014 festive season are set to be publicly named and shamed on Twitter.
In a bid to crack down on the number of incidents of drinking or taking drugs and driving, police in Surrey and Sussex will be taking part in the naming and shaming campaign throughout the whole of December 2014. Officers will provide information on Twitter to indicate when and where drivers were stopped for their alleged offences – with the joint campaign from the two forces potentially leading to public naming and shaming. Those who are subsequently charged with offences relating to drug or drink driving will find themselves named publicly.
The idea of the campaign is to deter those who are considering driving during the festive season while under the influence of drink or drugs. Warning posters with details of the campaign will be put up at sites where offending drivers were arrested during last year’s campaign, while members of the public are also being urged to visit www.operationcrackdown.co.uk where they are able to send text messages to police officers, providing details of people who they believe are guilty of driving under the influence of drink or drugs over the festive period.
In Sussex, last December saw 211 motorists being arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. To date, 135 of those have received a conviction, while the cases of five of these people are still being processed through the courts.
However, it is not just the public naming and shaming that is the focus of this December’s campaign; in West Sussex, Crawley Magistrates’ Court is setting aside extra time from December 1st onwards in order to deal with those who have been charged with more speed than usual, aiming to take these drivers off the road earlier than normal. A police spokesman has claimed that these new measures in place in Crawley could result in those motorists convicted of driving under the influence of drink or drugs being taken off the road within as few as 10 days of them initially being caught. Normally, it takes several weeks for an individual to appear in court after being charged, however, these changes mean that those caught at the start of December could find themselves unable to drive by Christmas.