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Essex Police arrest record number of drug drivers in May

One third of drivers responsible for fatal collisions in 2019 were under the influence of drugs (credit: Essex Police) 

Essex Police has arrested more than ten people a day for drug driving offences throughout May. 

Officers detained 331 people on suspicion of the offence, an increase of more than 25 per cent on the previous record in April. 

The Head of Roads Policing, Adam Pipe, told Time 107.5 officers have been able to focus on proactive stops while the roads have been quieter during the coronavirus lockdown. 

“This is not a case of more people drug driving,” he said. “This is a case of us being able to identify more suspected drug drivers.”

Essex Police has been working to tackle the crime since road side testing kits were first introduced in 2015.

“You may have taken cannabis the night before but it doesn’t just sit in your system for 24 hours,” explained Mr Pipe. “We are detecting people three, four, five days later that have cannabis or cocaine in their blood system.” 

Currently, around 600 police officers are trained to use the drug wipes in Essex. 

However, drug driving continues to be a serious problem which can seriously damage the lives of both drug drivers and their victims. 

In 2019, one third of drivers responsible for fatal collisions in the county were under the influence of cocaine or cannabis. 

“If you get caught drug driving you could lose your licence,” continued Mr Pipe. “If you lose your licence you could lose your job. If you lose your job you might not be able to pay your bills so you could lose your home.”

There are also wider benefits to catching drug drivers as between 30 and 40 per cent of them also have previous criminal convictions, normally for violent offences. 

More than 1,000 people have been arrested for the offence in 2020 alone, which is more than all of 2018. 

If you have any information about a drink or drug driver please call police on 101 or 999 if it’s an emergency.

Alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


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