Police to step up roadside drug tests

Supt Jon Puttock
Supt Jon Puttock
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Police will continue to step up their use of drug testing kits following the revelation more than 60 per cent of roadside tests were coming back positive.

Officers are turning to the cocaine and cannabis testing kits when people show no signs of being under the influence of alcohol.

Drug Wipe's latest reading to catch culprit

Drug Wipe's latest reading to catch culprit

And police are happy to be able to take even more potentially dangerous drivers off the roads.

Over the Christmas period officers from Western Division, which includes Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre, conducted 31 roadside tests, of which 20 came back positive.

Superintendent Jon Puttock says the high number of positive results was down to targeted use of the tests, which are being used more often as more officers are trained.

He said: “This is a fairly new tool we have at the roadside.We were really only getting used to using them at the end of 2015.

“Now more and more officers are trained and confident in using these kits.

“We have seen a good return from the test done. That is partly down to the targeted way in which they are used.

“When an officer can see there is an impairment to driving but there is no clear sign alcohol is involved that is when they might turn to these tests. The more than 50 per cent hit rate across the county shows how often they are justified in doing that.”

In terms of drink driving police carried out nearly 2,000 fewer test across Lancashire than they did in December 2014.

But 133 drivers were still found to be over the limit in December’s roadside checks - 4.2 per cent of the 3,266 people stopped and tested.

Supt Puttock said: “We are smarter in what we are doing with drink driving, targeting specific sites, specific times of day when the danger of drink driving is increased.

“It is disappointing that drivers still aren’t getting the message and our officers are still carrying out so many positive tests.”

The festive period may be over but Supt Puttock made clear that officers are still taking drink drivers to task.

He said: “We may have conducted a high profile operation in December, people might have seen us out at check sites.

“But the battle against drink driving does not stop.

“We will continue to target this in our day to day work.

“Alcohol is involved in a high percentage of road traffic collisions.

“Drink driving remains a major road safety concern, alongside things like mobile phone use, and it can ruin lives.”