Provide resources for the Force to tackle drink driving
Drink and drug driving is one of the ‘fatal five’ main causes of road traffic collisions which can result in injuries or fatalities.
These five factors, which also include excessive speed, poor decision making, not wearing a seatbelt and using a mobile phone while driving, are the focus of education and enforcement efforts to make Dorset’s roads safer.
In agreeing the annual council tax precept and setting the Dorset Police budget each year the PCC, in consultation with the Chief Constable, aims to ensure resources are available to address key areas including road safety.
This commitment is also closely linked to the separate PCC commitment to expand the availability of drug driving kits to the Force during his term of office.
While the sustained period of austerity has had an effect on the resources available to Dorset Police, a significant amount of work has continued in response to road safety, the ‘fatal five’ and tackling drink and drug driving specifically.
Campaigns – These generally take place throughout the summer and during the build-up to Christmas. They are supported by the OPCC and include regular updates on the numbers of people arrested and charged.
While the 2019 summer drink drug drive campaign was cancelled nationally, messages were still delivered to members of the public in Dorset through social media and at engagement events, including at the regular car and bike gatherings at Poole Quay.
The Commissioner also provided funding towards a major new partnership road safety campaign – Choices for Humanity – designed to encourage road users to make better choices and decisions. Based loosely on the popular Cards Against Humanity game, messaging was aimed at all road users with messages aimed at resonating in a more impactful way.
Enforcement – Ongoing police roadside enforcement activity continues, with 5,520 breath tests undertaken throughout 2018, of which 847 returned positive results. Coupled with this, a successful ‘fast track’ justice pilot has been implemented which has seen drink drivers processed through the criminal justice system within a matter of days, removing some of the more dangerous drivers from our roads as quickly as possible.
In addition, Operation Dragoon continues to target our most prolific offenders and high risk motorists identified for offences such as drink and drug driving as well as speeding. The initiative ensures these individuals are identified as early as possible, with positive, persistent and proportionate action taken against them. High and medium risk offenders are allocated an officer who focuses on preventing them from escalating their behaviour through engagement with them, their family and friends. In 2018, 569 vehicles were stopped and 242 targets arrested under Op Dragoon.
More recently, Dorset Police have launched Operation Snap, providing a secure online facility for members of the public to submit video and photographic evidence of driving incidents they have witnessed. While not specifically targeted towards drink or drug driving, it will assist the police in the investigation of dangerous and careless driving and incidences of driving without due care and attention.
Education and Awareness raising – The PCC has continued to support and promote education and awareness raising activity relating to drink and drug drive issues. Specific examples include the public consultation on the drink drive limit undertaken in 2017, support for the BRAKE National Road Safety Week, and blogs in support of the Christmas drink and drug drive campaign.
The Dorset Road Safe team also continue to attend numerous public events across the year to engage with the public, promote road safety initiatives and educate on the risks affecting all road users. For example, at the summer 2019 Dorset Police Force Open Day the team issued advice, guidance and single use breathalysers.