More drug than drink-driving arrests by Merseyside Police

Merseyside Police is reminding drivers of the dangers of getting behind the wheel after taking drugs or drinking alcohol after the release of national statistics on Thursday, 22 February.

The national policing operation, called Op Limit, is a drink and drug drive campaign that takes place over the festive period and brings together all police forces in a concerted effort to remove dangerous drivers from our roads.

In January, Merseyside Police revealed its Op Limit statistics as officers arrested 469 drug drivers and 191 drink drivers from 20 November 2023 to 1 January 2024.

Following the release of national statistics, it can now be confirmed that Merseyside Police arrested the most drug drivers of any individual force during the campaign.

Other forces where drug-related arrests exceeded those for drink driving include Greater Manchester, North Wales, Sussex, Hampshire & Isle of Wight, and Thames Valley.

Merseyside Police believe this success is down to how seriously it takes this campaign and illustrates its determination to make the streets of Merseyside as safe as possible for all road users.

Across the country, 6,616 arrests were made, 1,589 charged for drink and drug driving and nearly 50,000 breath tests were conducted.

To help tackle drug driving in Merseyside, Roads Policing Chief Inspector, Stuart McIver, believes the stigma surrounding drink driving now needs to be applied to drug driving.

He said, “The number of people who we have witnessed driving whilst under the influence of drugs in Merseyside is simply staggering.

“All the stigma and shame that goes with drink driving absolutely also needs to apply to drug driving. The 469 people we arrested for drug driving during Op Limit could have called a taxi, got a lift, used public transport, or stayed at home, but sadly they didn’t. They arrogantly put their own convenience above the safety of everyone else in Merseyside. 

“As a force, we were an early adopter of roadside drug wipes as a tool for crime detection and prevention and it’s an area we’ve heavily invested in. Using the roadside drug wipes so frequently has given us a unique insight into the scale of the problem of drug driving. 

“The number of drug driving offenders we caught across the six weeks of Operation Limit gives you an idea of the true scale of this problem.  We have an epidemic of drug driving that we need to tackle.”

Although Operation Limit concluded in January, Merseyside Police will continue to take a robust approach to drink and drug driving throughout the year.

Chief Insp McIver added, “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.

“Sadly last year we saw an increase in serious injuries and fatalities in Merseyside and drink and drug driving is responsible for many of these incidents every year. Innocent lives have been taken and families left shattered because of the selfish actions of some drivers.

“My message to those who choose to drive whilst under the influence is this: you are not only putting your own life and your own future at risk, but also the lives of innocent people. Is it really worth risking your own life and the lives others?”

If you know or suspect someone is driving whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs, then please contact @MerPolCC, 101, the Roads Policing Unit on 0151 777 5747 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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