Chief Insp Phil Vickers of Lincolnshire Police Specialist Operations (East Midlands Operational Support Service) called the figures ‘very basic’ - adding that they do not show the driving population and gave no indication of the ‘proportion of disqualified drivers’.
However, he said: “Certainly we know that across the rest of Europe, although the drink-drive limits are lower than England and Wales (they are almost all at the lower Scotland level), it is not enforced with the same commitment and the penalties for being caught are lower (driving bans tending to be shorter).”
He pointed to the partnership between the Road Safety Partnership, local policing teams and community groups to raise awareness of the UK approach, but said: “It is fair to say that we still see an issue with European migrant workers conforming to what would be normal in their country of origin.
“The truth is, that when we attend fatal and life-changing injury collisions, alcohol consumption is still one of the main contributory offences, and in our commitment to make the roads safer we enforce Drink Drive (campaign) every day.”
According to the figures Skegness has 136 disqualifed drivers - relatively low when compared to Boston. Chief Insp Vickers pointed to the fact that the town’s population ‘swells massively’ in the tourism season of April to October, and ‘a significant proportion of those arrested for drink or drug-driving offences will have home postcodes outside of the area’.
Chief Insp Vickers pointed to the fact that Boston has for many years had a roads policing base which now comes under East Midlands Operations Service and said officers spend very little time in the station.
He said: “It is where they start and finish their tour of duty, so the surrounding area benefits from their presence in that way.”
He also pointed to changes to legislation in the past 18 months which have allowed drug-drive tests to be completed by the side of the road and improved equipment.
“As a consequence I am in no doubt that the roads are safer, with more drivers who have consumed drugs being detected as a result,” he said. “Consumption of any alcohol affects your ability to drive – the speed/distance judgements required, fine motor-skills (use of accelerator, brake, clutch and steering) as well as reaction times and hazard perception – Lincolnshire Police and the EMOpSS teams remain committed to making our roads safer, through by working with communities to deliver education and enforcement.”