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Police Forces Identify People Accused Of Drink Driving

Two Police Forces Have Used The Media To Act As A Deterrent To Drink Drivers


Lincolnshire and Staffordshire police forces have used local media outlets to identify people accused of drink driving over the festive period.

Both the Stoke Sentinel and the Lincolnshire Echo were used by the law enforcement agencies to release the details of people arrested on the serious charge - which can lead to a fine, the suspension of a licence, or even a prison sentence.

Drink driving remains a large problem in both of these counties and Lincolnshire Police revealed there had been 69 injuries caused by motorists getting behind the wheel after consuming excess alcohol levels during the festive period.

While some civil liberties groups remain critical of the policy to name people accused of this crime before they have had a full trial, Staffordshire Police chief inspector Paul Trevor told the Stoke Sentinel it is vital that there is more of a deterrent against drink driving than at present.

"The actions of drink-drivers who risk their own and other people's lives can end in tragedy for families. We hope that this additional consequence will make drivers think before they drink and drive," the officer added.

"We are conducting road-side stop checks and drivers involved in collisions should expect to be breathalysed. Even the morning after a night out drivers could be still over the limit."

But while the Stoke Sentinel carried the names, ages and addresses of those suspected of this crime, the Lincolnshire Echo went even further and journalists at the paper were given access to the exact breathalyser readings of each individual charged.

Both police forces are also taking to social media platforms to name arrested drivers. Twitter users can follow @lincspolice and @staffspolice for more details.

Expert Opinion
The consequences of drink driving can be devastating for the person behind the wheel, but also for passengers, other road users and pedestrians who are innocently going about their business.

“We see time and time again the life-changing injuries inflicted on people because of another person’s decision to drink drive.

“Many of those seriously injured are left needing a lifetime of care and rehabilitation which we work to secure.

“This approach is an interesting one which could bring the civil liberties of the accused potentially into conflict with the broader public policy aim of discouraging drink driving. As long as it is clear that the person is only accused of a crime until found guilty then it is little different to normal reporting, but it remains to be seen if it takes off.”
Neil Whiteley, Partner