Police launch Christmas drink-drive campaign

Think you’ve spotted a drink-driver? Save a life, text this number: 80999.

That is the message from Hampshire Constabulary which is calling on members of the public to report suspected drink-drivers using the anonymous text service. The number which was launched last Christmas, will be used for this year’s Smashed Christmas drink-drive campaign which runs from December 1 until New Year’s Day.

This number is a text-only service, and will not take phone calls. You can also call 999 to report a drink drive offence in progress.

Any information sent to 80999 will be received anonymously, and senders simply need to text the precise location where the driver was last seen, direction of travel if possible, and as many vehicle details as possible – most importantly the number plate.

This year Hampshire Constabulary in partnership with Thames Valley Police will be pouring more time and resources into drink-drive operations than ever before in a bid to slash alcohol-related driving incidents on our roads.

Last year 164 people across Hampshire the Isle of Wight and Thames Valley area were involved in serious collisions where alcohol was a factor. Of those 144 were seriously injured and 20 died.

Between December 1 and January 1, 2011 police arrested 240 people on suspicion of drink-driving in Hampshire alone. Of those 176 were later charged. The Smashed campaign is supported and promoted by Hampshire County Council, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, South Central Ambulance Service, the Isle of Wight Road Safety Partnership, Portsmouth City Council, Safer Portsmouth Partnership, Southampton City Council and Winchester City Council.

The campaign is being widely promoted on buses, bus stops, bumper stickers and beer mats across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight this year.

During this month, roads policing officers will run pro-active operations across the two counties and the Thames Valley Police area targeting drink and drug impaired drivers, and we will, once again, be maximising our use of Twitter and Facebook by tweeting every stop and activity during several impaired driver unit (IDU) operations. These will be publicised in advance.

Chief Inspector Andy Bottomley of Roads Policing for Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police, said:

The public can really do their bit to support the Smashed campaign by displaying a bumper sticker on their car and by saving the 80999 number on their phone.If you suspect someone has been drinking, that they’re over the limit and getting behind the wheel – then please text us on 80999, tell us where the car is, give us the registration, and we will do the rest. You could be saving a life, be it the driver’s or someone who has the misfortune of getting in their way.Equally, if you see someone that you suspect is drink driving or driving under the influence of drugs, you can ring us on 999. It is an emergency and we will respond as such.

Drink-driving devastates lives. It’s a simple fact that my officers and certainly many members of the public can attest to. Christmas is a time which is all about family. It’s about being with those you love. Help us make sure you get to do that this year and for many to come. Don’t drink and drive and tell us if you think you know someone who is.

We are out every day of the year tackling this issue, but at Christmas we see more drink-drivers than at any other time in the year.We’ll be throwing everything we have got into tackling this problem this month. It’s not just about catching people; it’s about coming between them and catastrophic consequences.Do yourself – and everyone else – a favour this Christmas. Don’t drink and drive. It’s not worth this risk.

To get the very latest news and progress on the Smashed campaign follow @HantsPolice or @HantspolRoads on Twitter or check out our Hampshire Constabulary Facebook page.