Sussex Police campaign ‘designed to save lives’

Sussex Police are ‘trying to save lives’ by publishing the names of motorists arrested for drink-driving offences, a senior police figure has said.

Monday, 4th August 2014, 8:00 am
Katy Bourne, PCC for Sussex. Taken at County Hall, Lewes. 11/10/13 SUS-140704-144243001

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry spoke about the tactic of police issuing the names of those arrested - known as Operation Dragonfly - at a performance and accountability meeting on Friday (July 25).

ACC Barry was quizzed about the operation, which mirrors a similar campaign last Christmas, by Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne.

He said: “We don’t publish anything that wouldn’t be in the public domain through the justice system.

“It is compliant with the data protection issues, and we are not the only force that does it.

“The bottom line is we are trying to save lives, and if it means less people drink-drive that is a success.”

Over the month of June, Sussex Police breathalysed 2,258 drivers on county roads.

Of the 2,258 drivers breathalysed, 140 people were arrested for drink-driving - a failure rate of 3.5 per cent, ACC Barry said.

The failure rate of drivers that were not involved in a collision was three per cent, however when motorists were breathalysed following a collision, they failed the test four per cent of the time.

ACC Barry said: “We have had good positive feedback from the public, the message is really getting out there. Part of the campaign is to raise awareness.

“Each arrest for drink-driving is a failure because we have failed to get our message out there. We are getting better at drug testing.

“It has always been a bit of a gap in our arsenal but we are starting to close that gap now.”

The number of people killed or seriously injured on Sussex roads was raised as a concern by PCC Bourne.

She noted that more people were killed or seriously injured in the month of June than in any month in the last four years.

In addition, she said 271 people were killed or seriously injured on the roads in Sussex in the first quarter of financial year 2014-15.

This follows a rise from 849 in the year 2012-13 to 995 in 2013-14, and the figure is projected to rise again.

But despite this, PCC Bourne added that up until the meeting, the number for July was just 12 - significantly lower than the 105 people killed or seriously injured in July 2013.

However, ACC Barry said: “A month’s worth of statistics is not significant.”

The number of burglaries solved by Sussex Police was also discussed during the meeting.

Deputy Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney explained that the police’s ‘solving rate’ for burglaries had improved from 13 per cent last year to 18 per cent, but admitted ‘a great number are still not being solved’.

She said: “It puts us mid table in the country, but a great number are still not being solved.

“In terms of burglaries that happen other than houses, garages or sheds, our solve rate has doubled but it is still low.”

“Last year we were at four per cent and this year we have solved eight per cent,” said DCC Pinkney.

A new tactic of ‘super cocooning’ - an intense police response to a burglary, involving officers flooding to a localised area - is also set to be rolled out across the county, DCC Pinkney added.

She said: “It seems to be really effective.

“When a burglary takes place, we flood that immediate locality with officers and staff, letting people know what has happened and checking other people’s security.

“It is a really intensive response to a burglary.

“It is good policing - making the lives of those doing the burglaries really difficult. We want them to know we are on to them.”

PCC Bourne welcomed the improved figures, as well as the ‘super cocooning’ initiative.

She said: “A lot of victims just want us to catch them, so this is really good news for the public I think.”