SCORES of drivers were arrested on suspicion of drink and drug driving offences as part of Dorset Police’s winter campaign – including three on Christmas Day.

The force made 47 arrests for suspected alcohol or failing to cooperate at the roadside offences between December 1, 2020, and January 1, with a further 15 positive drug wipes recorded.

Twenty-three of the alcohol-related arrests were made in Bournemouth, with 21 in Weymouth and three in Poole.

Police figures show 47 per cent took place between the hours of 9pm and 4am, with three arrests on Christmas Day, two on Boxing Day and one on New Year’s Eve.

The majority of the breath tests that led to alcohol arrests were linked to male drivers – 39 of the 47 – while the youngest caught was aged 19.

In terms of drug tests, 28 were conducted across the county, with 15 of these producing positive results. Bournemouth and Christchurch recorded eight of the positive tests, Poole had three, Ferndown had two, and Dorchester and Weymouth had two.

Fourteen of the 15 drivers who provided a positive drug wipe were male.

Four drivers tested positive for just cannabis, nine tested positive for just cocaine and two tested positive for both drugs.

Alongside the crackdown against drink and drug drivers, Dorset Police continued its Op Dragoon work, which aims to tackle motorists most likely to cause harm to others on the county’s roads. Op Dragoon grades drivers known to the police as being of ‘high’, ‘medium’ or ‘standard’ risk to the public.

Throughout December, 38 stops were made involving Op Dragoon motorists, with 12 vehicles seized.

Comparisons to previous winter campaigns are difficult due to Covid-19 meaning there were lower volumes of traffic.

Speaking at the launch of the campaign, PC Heidi Moxam, of the Alliance Roads Policing team, said: “Over the past decade we’ve significantly reduced the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads and we are passionate about ensuring we continue this downward trend.

“I would encourage you to be the responsible driver and not to take the risk where drink or drugs are concerned."

Dorset Police's 2020 campaign had the following objectives:

  • Protect lives and prevent injury by deterring this behaviour
  • Highlighting to all drivers the real possibility of being prosecuted and encouraging drivers to use our roads responsibly and within the law
  • Identify drink or drug related collisions occurring during the weeks of action
  • Promote awareness and inform drivers, passengers and the wider public of the risks associated with driving under the influence.

Recent Department for Transport figures show that in 2018 an estimated 8,680 people were killed or injured nationally when at least one driver was over the drink-drive limit.