Nearly 300 people arrested in festive drink-driving crackdown

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Nearly 300 people have been arrested over the festive period as part of Sussex and Surrey Police’s crackdown on drink-driving.

The crackdown, labelled Operation Dragonfly, has seen 284 people arrested across both counties between December 1 and January 1 with almost 200 of those people being charged with offences.

In Sussex 178 arrests were made and 114 of those drivers have been charged with offences while no further action is being taken against 36 people.

For the first time, the campaign was run jointly by Sussex Police and Surrey Police alongside Sussex Safer Roads Partnership, Drive Smart in Surrey and the independent charity Crimestoppers.

Road policing unit officers were sent on dedicated patrols looking for offenders while teams also responded to tip-offs from members of the public who saw people getting into a car to drive when they knew they had been drinking or taking drugs.

Stop checks were set up at locations across Sussex and Surrey, in particular at locations where there had been a history of drink-driving.

Superintendent Jane Derrick, the head of road policing across Sussex and Surrey, said: “This is the first time we have run a road policing operation of this kind across both forces with one set of tactics being delivered by local officers in their own areas.

“It has proven to be a great success and has already led to more than 30 offenders being taken off the streets.

“Officers co-ordinated their activities to carry out checks at points where we had intelligence that there were likely to be drink-drivers and the fact that 179 people have been charged with offences so far shows how effective that was.

“We are not complacent and know that drink and drug-driving remains an issue across the counties and will take action against anyone we suspect could be behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

“We will be reviewing how the campaign went to see how we should do things differently to make sure we are putting officers where they can find the most offenders and I would like to thank the public for their assistance and patience during the operation.

“Although the campaign may have come to an end, officers are out on patrol every day in Sussex and Surrey looking for drink-drivers and anyone putting themselves and other road users at risk.

“We will not tolerate drink-driving and we are determined to do whatever we can to make the roads safer.”

In Surrey 106 arrests were made and 65 of those drivers have been charged with offences while no further action is being taken against 15 people.

People in Sussex can text officers on 65999 with the details of people they suspect of drink or drug driving or visit www.operationcrackdown.co.uk.

You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.