The results from Operation Limit, which ran in Merseyside from 20 November to 1 January, have now been totalled.
Operation Limit is a nationwide initiative which aims to tackle drink and drug driving across the festive period. Merseyside Police officers arrested 191 drink drivers, and 469 drug drivers. Overall, 123 more arrests were made than in the previous year.
Across 2023 Merseyside Police arrested 2730 drug drivers – an average of 227 per month – 53 a week.
Roads Policing Chief Inspector, Stuart McIver, feels strongly that the results demonstrate a lack of awareness around drug driving. He said, “What we are seeing here is an epidemic of drug driving – and it’s totally unacceptable. People who wouldn’t get in their car after a drink are getting behind the wheel after taking drugs, putting everyone else at risk.
“The people we’re arresting aren’t habitual drug users struggling with addiction – these are people using drugs recreationally and then choosing to drive. It’s astonishingly selfish. And there’s no excuse for it.
“The police’s stance on illegal substances is clear: nobody should be taking them. But even if you choose to break the law and take illegal drugs, that does not give you the right to endanger the lives of innocent people on the roads who have no way of knowing you are driving intoxicated.
“All the stigma and shame that goes with drink driving absolutely also needs to apply to drug driving. The 469 people we’ve arrested for drug driving could have gotten a taxi. Could have gotten a lift. Could have gotten the bus. Could have stayed at home. But they didn’t. They arrogantly put their own convenience above the safety of everyone else in Merseyside.
“This year’s Operation Limit might have finished – but we haven’t finished tackling drug driving. It’s not acceptable, it will not be tolerated, and we will be cracking down on this all year round.”
Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner, Emily Spurrell said, “While these are excellent results from Merseyside Police, it is profoundly worrying that so many individuals would get behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs.
“To make the decision to get into a car and drive on our region’s roads around children, families and innocent people while intoxicated is not only selfish but completely unacceptable.
“Merseyside Police is determined to crack down on those selfish individuals who put their own convenience before the lives of others. I hope these numbers act as a stark reminder to everyone that, no matter what time of year, driving while under the influence will never be tolerated here on Merseyside.”
Merseyside Police are looking to stress the facts around drug driving, including that it is illegal to drive on even prescription drugs if they render the person unfit.
Those convicted of drug driving face up to six months in prison, an unlimited fine and a potential one-year driving ban.
Image: Merseyside Police