Public urged to shop a drink or drug driver as Christmas crackdown begins

Somerset County Gazette: Public urged to shop a drink or drug driver as Christmas crackdown begins Public urged to shop a drink or drug driver as Christmas crackdown begins

AVON and Somerset police are promising that people caught drink or drug driving will face a miserable Christmas and an extremely unhappy New Year.

The force are also calling on members of the public to shop a drink or drug driver as this year's Christmas drink and drug drive crackdown get's underway. Operation Tonic starts today (Friday) and will run until New Year's Day on roads across the county.

Anyone suspecting a person to get behind the wheel while under the influence of drink or drugs is asked to dial 999 ot text 'drunk' to a special number, 81819.  

Chief Insp John Holt of the operations and roads policing unit said: "Drink and drug driving is totally unacceptable and is a serious crime. Most people regard it as socially and morally wrong and I'm sure they fully support our all-year round campaign to make the roads of Avon and Somerset safer for all."

The system of texting the word 'drunk' to 81819 was introduced last year and had a good response from members of the public. This year it's hoped that more people will know about it and use it, giving police the chance to apprehend offenders and, importantly, deterring people who might think about taking a chance on driving.

The 81819 number will be promoted on posters and beer mats this Christmas, as part of the force's Have the Christmas You Deserve campaign, that runs throughout December.

The campaign incorporates a range of activities to tackle issues relating to the festive period, such as keeping your Christmas gifts secure and helping people to stay safe over the party season.

"We want everyone to have a happy, safe and crime-free Christmas," added Insp Holt.

"People should remember there is no safe drinking limit – other than not drinking at all."

Last Christmas 231 people gave positive breath or drugs tests – 13 for drugs. A total of 11,984 vehicles were stopped and drink/drug driving advice was given by officers. Of those stopped, 1,771 were given breath or drugs tests. Just over 50 text messages were received giving information about drink or drugs drivers.

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