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PCC supports launch of police Christmas drink drive campaign

Norfolk's Police and Crime Commissioner has supported the launch of Norfolk Constabulary's Christmas drink drive campaign which urges members of the public to consider the #IMPACT of driving under the influence of drink or drugs.

The month-long initiative launched yesterday and continues until Friday 1 January, in conjunction with a UK-wide operation led by the National Police Chiefs' Council. It will see officers carrying-out roadside checks throughout the day and night, including early morning checks, as well as intelligence-led enforcement activity.

The aim, to target irresponsible and dangerous drivers and also to protect other road users from the harm caused by those drink or drug driving. 

This year the police will be teaming up with Norfolk's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Lorne Green and Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service to raise awareness of the #IMPACT that driving under the influence can have.

The #IMPACT campaign is a joint initiative, launched by the PCC in 2016, which delivers hard-hitting road safety messages to young and future drivers in an attempt to deter them from putting their own lives and the lives of others at risk. Visiting colleges and sixth forms around Norfolk, #IMPACT gives students an insight into what it is like to be involved in a car crash and what is involved for our emergency services in trying to free someone from a vehicle.

As part of the Christmas Drink Drive Campaign, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service are staging three mock 'crashed car' scenes along roads near its fire stations in King's Lynn, Thetford and Sprowston, in Norwich. The aim is to have a wider reaching #IMPACT on motorists who will be driving past. The project will also carry the Fatal4 messaging and the scenes will be created next week and left there for a month to highlight the problem throughout the Christmas and New Year holiday.

PCC, Lorne Green, said: "Since its launch four years ago, #IMPACT has targeted young and future drivers specifically, but its hard-hitting and massively important messages - about the responsibility we accept when we get behind the steering wheel, and the potential consequences when we don't take that responsibility seriously - are a useful reminder for us all as we head out of lockdown and into the Christmas period.

"As more of us return to the roads over the coming days and weeks, please heed this warning from our police and fire & rescue services about the potential #IMPACT of your actions. I urge you to think about other road users, think about our emergency services but ultimately remember the life you save may even be your own."

During last year's festive drink drive campaign, in Norfolk 613 breath tests were carried out with 95 drivers providing positive readings. Of the 100 drug tests conducted, 82 drivers failed. In addition, 15 people failed to provide a specimen and 22 people were arrested for being unfit to drive through drink or drugs.

Whilst police continue to detect and prosecute these offences throughout the year during 'business as usual', recent research published by Drinkaware shows that some people have significantly increased their alcohol consumption at home during the lockdown.

The message this year, is therefore to remind those celebrating at home, that no matter what the setting, drink driving will not be tolerated and those who get behind the wheel and put themselves and others at risk will face the full force of the law.

Temporary Chief Inspector Jon Chapman, Head of the Joint Roads and Armed Policing Team, said: "We want people to be able to enjoy themselves, but to do so sensibly and without risking the lives of others. There is no room for people to think that just because it's Christmas, or that 2020 has been a year to forget, that getting behind the wheel of a vehicle under the influence of drink or drugs is any more acceptable than it would usually be.

"Our message is consistent - it is not acceptable any year, or at any time of the year - drink and drug driving kills and we urge friends and relatives not to tolerate or condone their loved ones taking this unnecessary risk."

Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, Cabinet Member for Communities and Partnerships at Norfolk County Council, said: "Our fire crews and road safety team see all too often the devastating impact of drink and drug driving, as well as the other Fatal 4 factors of speed, using mobile phones and not wearing a seatbelt."

Anyone with information about suspected drink or drug driving should contact Norfolk Police on 101.

In case of an emergency, or if you believe a crime is in progress, always dial 999.

Alternatively, contact the charity Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111.