A RECORD number of people were arrested for drug driving during lockdown.

Those who drive while under the influence of drugs are being warned that they are putting lives at risk after figures released today have shown how arrests spiked during lockdown.

The statistics issued by North Wales Police show an almost 59 per cent increase in the number of people arrested for drug driving offences compared to the same period last year.

Between March 23 and July 31 this year, 580 drug drive arrests were made across North Wales, compared to 365 from the same period in 2019.

During the same period 272 drink drive arrests were made compared to 361 in 2019. That’s almost a 25 per cent decrease.

The Leader:

Data: NWP

Superintendent Jane Banham ,of the North Wales Police Roads Policing Unit, has condemned the actions of those who get behind the wheel whilst under the influence. She said: “Driving whilst under the influence is not only a criminal offence but it is also completely unacceptable which puts lives of innocent road users at risk.

“Drugs can affect your mind and body in a variety of ways that mean you aren't able to drive safely. Not only that, the effects can last for hours or even days. Driving while under the influence of drugs can lead to slower reaction times, poor concentration, confusion, fatigue, being over confident which means you take unnecessary risks and erratic behaviour.

“Your ability to drive is significantly impaired and the chances of you being involved in a collision will drastically increase.

“During lockdown we have seen a significant reduction in the number of people who have been using our region’s roads. However our figures show that people are continuing to get behind the wheel while under the influence and that is extremely concerning.

“Despite less people using the roads officers were out on proactive patrols across the region and were able to focus on identified high risk groups and acting on intelligence. This gave them an opportunity to carry out targeted patrols to identify those individuals.

“We now have more officers trained to undertake the roadside drugs test including response and local neighbourhood policing officers. Please don’t think the rural nature of the region affords you protection because it doesn’t.”

Supt Banham added: “Despite Covid-19 officers across the north Wales have been out enforcing and these patrols will continue. Anybody who gets behind the wheel whilst under the influence should expect to be arrested and put before the courts.”

With the weather forecast set to be sunny and warm over the weekend, North Wales Police are urging all motorists to take responsibility and stay safe.

Supt Banham added: “We are very lucky to police beautiful areas across the region which attracts thousands of visitors every week over the summer months.

“We understand people want to enjoy the beaches, mountains and countryside that they’ve missed during the lockdown, however we are anticipating a busy weekend ahead. Staying safe on the road applies to every single one of us, and we are simply asking for all motorists to enjoy our beautiful region safely and abide by the law. Also please be mindful of the possible increase of traffic on the roads this weekend, and to especially be mindful of motorcycles and cyclists and their vulnerability.

“Please also remember to park considerately, safely and legally. We do not want repeated scenes of vehicles being towed due to the irresponsible actions of a few which we saw last weekend. Patrols will continue as part of our ongoing commitment to keeping the roads safe for all.”

|Anyone who suspects someone is driving while unfit to do so, should report it immediately to police on 101 (or 999 if they are posing imminent danger) or phone it through anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.