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A third of all people arrested by Dyfed-Powys Police last weekend were suspected of drink or drug driving, as roads policing officers crack down on dangerous drivers.
The force has revealed that its Roads Policing Unit officers arrested 20 people on suspicion of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol over a three day period (Friday, September 25 – Sunday, September 27).
This accounts for a third of all arrests across the four divisions over the weekend.
Breaking the figures down, the force says 11 of the people arrested were suspected to have illegal substances in their system at the time of driving, while nine were suspected to be over the alcohol limit.
Inspector for Specialist Operations Andy Williams said: “Unfortunately, we have seen a dramatic rise in arrests over the past 12 months, with the number of drug driving incidents surpassing drink driving.
“We are putting this down to increased detection rates, and the highly proactive work of our Roads Policing Unit officers across the force, who are doing all they can to ensure these dangerous drivers are taken off the road.”
Looking at the picture across the force area for last weekend, Powys saw the highest number of suspected drink or drug driving incidents, with more than half of all arrests across the division (56 per cent) being made for these offences.
Drink or drug driving accounted for 30 per cent of the weekend’s arrests in Pembrokeshire, 29 per cent of arrests in Ceredigion, and 19 per cent of arrests in Carmarthenshire.
Insp Williams explained when drivers would be tested for having alcohol or drugs in their system.
“There are various scenarios in which we have cause to carry out a drug swipe or breath test,” he said.
“We might pull a vehicle over due to the way it is being driven, if it shows on our system as having no tax or insurance, or if it has been involved in a crash.
“Officers are well attuned to the signs that a driver could be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and closely monitor the behaviour of the driver in these situations.
“They make an assessment on whether a test is needed, and just like doing a breath test at the roadside, they can carry out a drug wipe which will give an indication within minutes that someone has an illegal substance in their system.
“If this is the case, they are taken to custody where a blood sample is taken for analysis and use in subsequent prosecutions.”
The weekend’s drug drive arrests saw positive indications of drivers with cocaine and cannabis in their system, with male and female drivers ranging from 18 to 55 old arrested.
Inspector Williams issued a reminder that by driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you put your own life and the lives of other road users at risk.
“One incident over the weekend saw officers respond to reports of a collision in Powys where a car had landed on its roof,” he said.
“The driver was displaying behaviour which indicated that he had taken drugs, so a test was carried out once officers we drug swiped, with a positive reading at the roadside.
“Fortunately he was not seriously injured, but the outcome could have been very different.”