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Public urged to report drink drivers to help police cope

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 03, 2013

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Police have recruited an ashamed drink-driver to help launch a Christmas campaign to persuade revellers to leave their cars at home.

The 33-year-old Plymouth University student joined senior officers from Devon and Cornwall police and crime commissioner Tony Hogg to "hammer home" the message yesterday.

The father of three, who did not wish to be identified because of the stigma, was caught last year when three times over the limit trying to move his car 100 metres to avoid a parking fine the next morning.

Instead, the student, who lives in Cornwall and works in healthcare, suffered an agonising festive period worried he might lose his job and wondering how he would tell his eldest son, who he needs a car to visit.

He said the "moment of madness" was "catastrophic", losing him his licence for a year, boosting his insurance 75% and almost costing his job.

"I had all over Christmas to contemplate it – then the realisation sinks in that you have been a complete idiot – I was totally gutted," he said.

"I met a friend and one drink led to two then three – I decided to stay in Plymouth and thought I will quickly move my car to avoid a fine – later you think 'how am I going to explain this to my family?'

"I did a three-day police awareness course to reduce my ban and it was a real eye opener. I would say to people just don't take your keys out or have the means around you to drive a car if you are drinking."

The force said the 1,556 people caught driving while over the limit in the two counties since 2007 risk seriously injuring or even killing themselves and others.

Officers breathalysed 2,134 drivers across Devon and Cornwall last December and, of those, 252 were either positive, failed to produce a suitable sample or refused to comply.

As part of this year's operation, increased roadside checks will be made in the evenings and early mornings during the festive period.

Inspector Richard Pryce, head of roads policing, said most of those convicted were under 25 years old but there were "increasing numbers" aged over 50.

"Some people make rash and stupid decisions while others will deliberately drive, but we are determined to catch them," he added.

"It is very simple – if you are going to drink, don't drive but plan a different way to get home."

Mr Hogg, the regions' new police and crime commissioner, said with 500 fewer officers the force was under extreme "pressure" and it was up to the community to report drink drivers.

"There are huge pressures on society at the moment and we have fewer officers than we used to – people need to recognise that and support the policing family."

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  • Tony248  |  December 03 2013, 5:46AM

    Can someone tell me why motorists who drive with more than the limit of alcohol but without causing actual problems are hammered.... whilst incompetents who drive their cars into shop windows keep their licences, and indeed appear not even to attract Police interest? It seems to me that you can drive as badly as you want so long as you are not drunk, speeding, or using your mobile phone and the Police do nothing. Not that I in any way condone those things but surely punishing people more seriously because they MIGHT have an accident, than if they actually DO have an accident, is illogical?

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