DRIVERS who put lives at risk by getting behind the wheel drunk or high on drugs are being targeted by traffic cops as part of a month-long summer clampdown.
Throughout June, officers will operate roadside checkpoints and be patrolling in unmarked vehicles across the region to catch offenders.
They will also be acting on tip-offs from members of the public reporting suspected drink-drivers, police intelligence on likely drink-drive ‘risk takers’, and focusing on venues where drink driving is thought to be prevalent.
And for the first time this year they’ll be armed with mobile drug testing kits that will allow them to carry out quick-time assessments on people suspected of being under the influence of cannabis and cocaine.
Officers from the Central Motorway Police Group (CMPG) – an alliance of West Midlands, West Mercia and Staffordshire Police – will be out in force on the region’s motorway and road network in support of the campaign.
The most recent Christmas drink-drive operation saw more than one in five of all drivers stopped by CMPG units provide a positive breath test.
CMPG Chief Inspector Jed White said his officers are targeting risk drivers rather than random roadside stops.
He added: “Randomly pulling people over doesn’t work and unfairly inconveniences innocent motorists.
“Our approach is intelligence-led, targeting people and vehicles we believe to be drink-drive risk takers and it’s working as our ‘hit rate’ on arresting drink-drivers is almost four times the national average.
“Every year our officers have to break news to families that a loved one has died as a result of someone drink-driving it’s a top priority for us to ensure that the numbers of families left to grieve is reduced year on year.”
On Day One of the campaign (Monday, June 1) 37 drivers were tested.
Two were arrested on suspicion of being over the limit, two arrested after being considered unfit to drive, and one for refusing to provide a breath test.
And a 21-year-old man from Moseley was arrested just after 4am yesterday having tested positive for cannabis on a mobile drug test kit; he was bailed pending a forensic analysis of the specimen.
A total of 63,688 breath tests were administered by police nationally in June 2014 with 4,108 either testing positive or refusing to provide a sample.
Anyone who suspects someone is drink or drug driving should call West Midlands Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.