Melton drink drivers could soon be named and shamed by police

Police conduct a breath test on a suspected drink driver EMN-190322-115911001
Police conduct a breath test on a suspected drink driver EMN-190322-115911001
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Drink drivers caught in the Melton area could soon be named and shamed by the police.

Leicestershire police chiefs are set to make a decision shortly on whether or not to publicise the details of people arrested and convicted of driving while over the legal limit.  

The number of people being killed or injured by drink drivers is on the rise and the scheme, which is being discussed nationally by the National Police Chiefs’ Council, is seen as a potential way to bring the figure back down.

Across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, around 80 drivers a month are testing positive for excess alcohol.

During the December campaign, more than 120 drivers were arrested for being over the limit.

Nationally, there were 240 drink drive deaths in 2018. On average, 3,000 people are killed or seriously injured on the UK’s roads by drink/drug drivers each year.

Members of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicestershire’s ethics, integrity and complaints committee discussed the idea at their latest meeting.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicestershire, Lord Willy Bach, said: “I remember when drink driving and driving without a seatbelt became a thing and people were furious. They felt it was a real attack on their liberty.

“These things though, have now become so unacceptable.

“I’m not sure whether naming and shaming should be introduced but it could be a way of making people realise that what they are doing is wrong.”

A report presented to members of the committee states that views across the region are mixed.

Derbyshire launched naming and shaming in December 2018, but withdrew the initiative after a single complaint from a member of the public.

Lincolnshire has decided against the idea, Northamptonshire ran a scheme in December which was deemed a success. The force plan to repeat the campaign in the summer. Nottinghamshire is yet to make a decision.

Lynne Richards, ethics committee member and charitable sector worker, said: “I looked for research to back up naming and shaming and didn’t find any to suggest it has any benefit at all.

“I can’t see why it would only include alcohol offenders and not drug drivers too, that to me seems discriminatory.”

Dr Steven Camiss, committee member and senior lecturer in law at the University of Leicester, added that research into hard hitting campaigns suggests that people disassociate from them therefore making them ineffective.

He said: “Graphic campaigns that warn people to wear their seatbelts or not use their phones while driving have the opposite effect because people don’t relate to them, they think ‘that will never happen to me’.

“I think the same would happen with this.”

He continued: “Is being named and shamed any more of a deterrent than a driving ban?

“One of the issues is that 30 years ago you would be named and shamed in the newspaper and people would say that ‘newspapers are tomorrow’s chip paper’, now there is the digital mark that hangs around longer.

“What really needs to change is the chance of being detected.

“Austerity has really hit traffic policing and people know that their chances of being caught have been massively reduced.”

Figures from Leicestershire Police’s December 2018 campaign:

Total tests – 500

Positive under 25s – 37

Positive over 25s – 85

Positive male – 111

Positive female – 11

Positive after road traffic collision – 39

Highest reading – 230 micrograms – the legal limit is 35 micrograms per 100 ml