Havering officers on the beat to stop drink-drive threat
- Credit: Archant
With end of year celebrations in full swing, officers from the road and transport policing command team are on the beat to ensure everyone gets home safely.
But although the number of arrests made for drink-driving go up during these festivities, officers patrol the roads all year round and prevent drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs from becoming a safety hazard to others.
Pc Andy Reeder and Pc Adrian Collier spend most of their time driving through everyday traffic, looking out for any sign of drink-drivers and ensuring all those on the roads are safe.
“It could be anything from speeding or having the lights off when it’s dark or bumping into the pavement,” said Pc Reeder.
“We call it a small acorn in a big tree.”
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Pc Reeder explained that when receiving calls reporting fatal accidents in the early hours of the morning, and occasionally when hearing of drivers abandoning their vehicles, he knows the accidents are likely to be related to drink-driving.
“We do find that people who are prepared to take that risk [to drink and drive] won’t wear a seat belt, might speed or drive without a licence.
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“It’s a bit of snowball effect.”
Around the Christmas period, Pc Reeder said he stops a lot of “morning after” drink-drivers, who did not leave enough time between their last drink and the moment they began driving their car for the alcohol to be eliminated by their body.
But, in recent years, officers have been confronted with increasing numbers of drug-driving cases.
Pc Reeder told the Recorder some older drivers still tend to drink and drive because “it used to be acceptable” but the younger generation, who grew up during government campaigns to stop drivers from drinking, are less likely to drink but find cannabis “almost acceptable”.
In the last six months, traffic officers have been equipped with drug-driving tests, which enable them to check if a driver is under the influence of cannabis or cocaine.
Pc Collier explained the test is “a bit of a shock to a lot of people”, as many drivers believe they cannot get caught for drug-driving.
He told the Recorder this year’s road campaign is much more about drug-driving than drink-driving.
“We are about prevention and our main role is to try to stop drink-driving and drug-driving happening in the first place,” he said.