Surge in number of calls to police drink and drug drive hotline


- Credit: Archant

Calls to a confidential drink and drug drive hotline more than doubled in the run up to Cambridgeshire police’s biggest ever road safety event.

At the start of October, officers issued a fresh appeal for the public’s help in targeting motorists who drive under the influence of drink and drugs.

People were asked to help catch those under the influence by calling the confidential reporting line - 0800 032 0845, which is available 24/7, or reporting online at

The fresh appeal came a month before the force held its 24-hour multi-agency operation, known as Op Astragal, on November 2.

Op Astragal targeted dangerous driving across the county and involved more than 350 officers, PCSOs, staff, volunteers and charity representatives.

Calls to the confidential reporting line more than doubled – with 17 calls in September and 39 in October.

Sergeant Ian Manley, casualty reduction officer in the road policing unit, said: “It is encouraging to see this increase in calls, and that more people have had the confidence to report drink or drug drivers to us.

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“However, this wasn’t an isolated request; we want this to continue and for the online reporting service and drink drive hotline to always stick in people’s minds.

“Some may be reading this and have concerns about someone they know who may be drink or drug driving, or notice someone who regularly drives their vehicle home from the pub despite having several drinks.

“Alcohol or drugs will always affect your driving for the worse and although it may give a feeling of overconfidence, the truth is your reactions are slower and you are a danger on the roads.”

On December 1 the force launches a Christmas drink and drug drive campaign cracking down on those driving under the influence.

The campaign, which runs until January 1, will also be warning motorists to be aware of driving the morning after a night of drinking, as they may still be over the limit.

Sgt Manley added: “It takes a lot longer than most people think for alcohol to pass through the body and because of this, there is a real risk that people who would not dream of driving after drinking may still be unwittingly over the drink drive limit the morning after.

“This includes people going about their everyday activities such as driving to work, doing the school run, popping to the shops or going to see friends.”

The penalties for drug driving are the same as those for drink driving. If convicted, motorists could lose their licence, be fined up to £5,000 and even face a prison sentence.

For more information on drink and drug driving, visit the force’s road safety pages.