Redbridge officers on beat to stop threat of drink-drivers
- Credit: Archant
With end of year celebrations in full swing, officers from the road and transport policing command team are on the beat to ensure everyone gets home safely.
But although the number of arrests for drink-driving go up during these festivities, officers patrol the roads all year round and prevent drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs from becoming a safety hazard to others.
Pc Andy Reeder and Pc Adrian Collier, from the road and transport policing team in Chadwell Heath, spend most of their time driving through everyday traffic, looking for signs of drink-drivers and ensuring the roads are safe.
“It could be anything from speeding or having the lights off when it’s dark to bumping into the pavement,” said Pc Reeder.
“We call it a small acorn in a big tree.”
Pc Reeder explained that when receiving calls reporting fatal accidents in the early hours, and occasionally when hearing of drivers abandoning their vehicles, he knows the accidents are likely to be related to drink-driving.
“We do find that people who are prepared to take that risk [to drink and drive] won’t wear a seat belt, might speed or drive without a licence. It’s a bit of snowball effect.”
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Around Christmas, Pc Reeder said he stops a lot of “morning after” drink-drivers who did not leave enough time after their last drink for the alcohol to leave their body.
In recent years, officers have faced increasing numbers of drug-driving cases.
Pc Reeder told the Recorder some older drivers still tend to drink and drive because “it used to be acceptable” while the younger generation, who grew up during government campaigns, are less likely to drink but find cannabis “almost acceptable”.
In the past six months, officers have been equipped with drug-driving tests to check if a driver is under the influence of cannabis or cocaine.
Pc Collier explained the test is “a bit of a shock to a lot of people” as many believe they can’t get caught for drug-driving.
“We are about prevention and our main role is to try to stop drink-driving and drug-driving happening in the first place,” he said.