MOTORISTS are being urged
not to risk getting penalties that can ruin lives as the European
Football Championships kicks off in June. Merseyside
Police launched its summer-long drink and drug drive campaign on 1
June 2012, with the aim of reducing road deaths and injuries caused
by those who drive under the influence.
Officers will be out in force across Merseyside throughout the
summer targeting motorists suspected of driving after having had a
few drinks or taken drugs as well as stopping drivers to speak to
them about the risks of getting behind the wheel while under the
influence, particularly the morning after.
In anticipation of the Euros, Police are concerned that people
watching the games in their local pubs may consume more alcohol than
they had planned and be tempted to risk the drive home. Equally,
those watching the games at home are at risk of having larger
measures and may unwittingly be over the legal limit when driving to
work the next morning, or taking the children to school.
In the last 4 years, June has seen 767 drivers arrested for drink or
drug driving and there have been 889 collisions where alcohol or
drugs have been a contributory factor.
Chief Inspector John Hogan, head of Merseyside Police's Roads
Policing Department, said:- "We want people to have a summer
that is memorable for all the right reasons. With lighter nights,
and hopefully warmer weather, we appreciate that people may like to
enjoy a drink on an evening, especially with the Euros on, but if
they are going to do that they shouldn't then get behind the wheel
of a vehicle. We want to challenge the perception among some that it
is acceptable to risk lives by driving under the influence. The
consequences can be devastating. At best, you can expect to lose
your license and receive a conviction on your record that could
impact on your career. At worst, you could kill or seriously injure
someone and be contemplating the pain this will cause others from
behind bars for many years."
As well as targeting motorists who drink or take drugs and then
drive, officers will also be cracking down on people who get behind
the wheel the morning after when they could still be over the limit.
More than one in four of all deaths on the road involve drivers who
are over the legal limit and one fifth of arrests made in previous
campaigns were people who failed breath tests the morning after.
Men aged between 17 and 29 years are particularly prone to drink or
drug driving and part of the Force's summer campaign will involve
officers working with driving instructors as part of the ENGAGE
initiative and educating young novice drivers about the risks.
Sgt. Paul Mountford said:- "Young drivers have so much to look
forward to, they should not consider risking it all by driving under
the influence. Even the smallest amount of alcohol or cannabis can
impair your ability behind the wheel. If it is in your system, you
will be prosecuted, and may end up with a criminal record.
Generally, home-poured drinks tend to be larger than those served in
pubs, leading to a greater volume of alcohol consumption. This can
take a number of hours to be eliminated from a personís body, often
meaning that a driver can still be over the limit or impaired the
following day. If anyone is any doubt they should use public
transport rather than risk driving."
Any driver involved in a road traffic collision, or who commits a
traffic offence, can expect to be breathalysed and may be required
to perform an impairment test. Should they fail the breath test, or
perform poorly during the impairment test they may be arrested and
the penalties can be severe.
Sgt. Mountford added:- "Drug driving is currently a topical
issue in the UK and we are seeing a number of people who are taking
drugs, particularly cannabis, and then driving. Cannabis can cause
people to feel more relaxed and less alert - clearly not a safe
condition to be in when driving. Merseyside Police has been very
pro-active in countering drug driving for the past two years with
more than 646 impairment tests conducted and 279 arrests. Impairment
testing will continue to be an important part of our campaign."
Merseyside Detective is now Assistant Chief Constable!
ANDY Cooke has returned to
Merseyside Police as Assistant Chief Constable for Operations. Andy,
who left Merseyside Police in 2008 to join Lancashire Constabulary
after being promoted to Assistant Chief Constable, had previously
served with Merseyside Police for 24 years. Andy joined Merseyside
Police in 1985 having obtained an Honours Degree in Politics from
Nottingham University and he has served as an investigator at every
rank during his career. In 1998 Andy was promoted to Temporary
Detective Inspector in charge of the Robbery Squad where he led and
managed covert investigations in to force wide and regional armed
robbery offences. In 1999 he was promoted to Detective
Inspector in charge of Target Operations and Major Crime Unit where
he was responsible for the conviction of numerous key individuals
involved in serious and organised crime. In 2001 he was promoted to
Detective Chief Inspector, Senior Investigating Officer, in the St.
Helens area. He was responsible for leading all major investigations
and the development of crime reduction strategies. He had
responsibility for policy formulation as the Force Crime Reduction
Co-ordinator, on promotion to Superintendent before being posted
back to St. Helens as operations manager. In 2005 he was
promoted to Detective Chief Superintendent and was instrumental in
developing the nationally recognised 'Matrix' team
responsible for tackling gun and gang enabled crime. In 2006
Andy became Area Commander for South Liverpool where he was
instrumental in significantly reducing crime, Anti Social Behaviour
and disorder. During his time in charge South Liverpool became one
of the highest performing Basic Command Units in the country. During
his time at Liverpool South Andy also devised an approach to
tackling serious and organised crime within the security industry in
the run-up to Capital of Culture. The initiative was lauded at a
national level and was taken up by the Metropolitan Police who have
used the approach in advance of the 2012 Olympics. In
2008 Andy left Merseyside after being appointed as an Assistant
Chief Constable at Lancashire Constabulary with the responsibility
for Specialist Operations. During this time he devised
strategies which significantly improved the safety of communities in
Lancashire by developing the forceís capability to deal with
serious and organised and cross border criminality through the
implementation of a co-ordinated, multi-faceted approach to serious
criminality and the introduction of a £3.5m Automatic Number Plate
Recognition (ANPR) programme across Lancashire. In 2010 he
became Assistant Chief Constable for Territorial Operations, Criminal
Justice and Contact Management, leading the constabulary to
considerable reductions in crime and increased detections against a
backdrop of significant cuts and resources. Nationally, Andy
is the national lead for witness protection and is leading a
programme to implement witness protection on a national basis under
the new National Crime Agency.
Andy, who is married with twin
daughters, said that:- "I am delighted to be back in
Merseyside and look forward to the challenges that the force has to
offer. Merseyside Police is recognised nationally for its pioneering
work and innovative approaches to tackling crime and Iím looking
forward to working with Area Commanders to make the streets even
safer for our communities."