Pos­i­tive breath tests at high­est lev­els in 4 years

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By MICHAEL GOODIER news­[email protected] @MENnews­desk

MEET the gor­geous new pup­pies which have been re­cruited by GMP’s Tac­ti­cal Dog Unit.

The su­per cute lit­ter of nine Ger­man Shep­herds have been pic­tured play­ing and snooz­ing be­fore their se­ri­ous po­lice train­ing be­gins.

They may look adorable and harm­less, but the pup­pies - who are around seven weeks old - will be trans­formed into a mini pack of crime-busters in no time.

The new re­cruits were first in­tro­duced to Man­cu­ni­ans on GMP Tac­ti­cal Dog Unit’s Twit­ter ac­count at the end of Oc­to­ber.

The post said: “Hello World! Meet ‘paws’-ibly the cutest new ad­di­tions to the Greater Manch­ester Po­lice Dog Unit.

“This lit­ter has four male and five fe­male pups, more snaps com­ing soon #pup­date.”

MORE peo­ple were caught out in a road­side breath test last year than at any point since 2014.

The num­ber of po­lice tests that were pos­i­tive – or where the per­son re­fused to take it – rose from 1,471 in 2017 to 2,216 in 2018 in Greater Manch­ester.

That’s the high­est fig­ure since 2014, when 2,790 were caught out.

The pro­por­tion of driv­ers be­ing caught out has also been ris­ing in re­cent years.

More than two in ev­ery 10 driv­ers (21 per cent) in Greater Manch­ester that were tested for al­co­hol in 2018 either re­fused the test or were found to be over the limit – up from 17.8pc the year be­fore.

The fig­ures could sug­gest one or both of two things: that there is sim­ply more drink-driv­ing in Greater Manch­ester or that po­lice are be­com­ing more ac­cu­rate in know­ing when to make some­one take a test.

The to­tal num­ber of peo­ple tested has been trend­ing down­wards.

There were 21,346 taken in Greater Manch­ester in 2010. That com­pares to just 10,566 last year.

Po­lice can re­quire a per­son to take a screen­ing breath test if they sus­pect they have been driv­ing with al­co­hol in their body, have com­mit­ted a mov­ing traf­fic of­fence or have been in­volved in an ac­ci­dent.

It is a crim­i­nal of­fence to refuse to take a breath test when re­quired to do so by a po­lice of­fi­cer, un­less you have a rea­son­able ex­cuse.

Across Eng­land as a whole, there has been a dra­matic fall in the num­ber of

Pic­ture posed by mod­els

breath tests car­ried out by po­lice since 2009.

In 2018 there were 320,988 – less than half of the 2009 fig­ure.

The to­tal for both years ex­cludes four po­lice forces who did not pro­vide data.

Since 2013 there has been a year-onyear in­crease in the pro­por­tion of peo­ple test­ing pos­i­tive for al­co­hol or re­fus­ing to take the test – from around 11pc to 15pc last year.

A spokesper­son for road safety char­ity Brake said: “The de­clin­ing num­ber of breath tests car­ried out is symp­to­matic of the sav­age cuts in po­lice num­bers that we have seen in re­cent years. Cou­ple that with the fact that the num­ber of pos­i­tive breath tests in­creased and it shows that drink driv­ing re­mains a se­ri­ous is­sue on our roads.

“This is com­pounded by the cur­rent drink-driv­ing limit which gives a false im­pres­sion that it is safe to drink and drive – this is a dan­ger­ous mes­sage and one that couldn’t be fur­ther from the truth, some­thing which we will be mak­ing clear to driv­ers dur­ing the up­com­ing Road Safety Week.

“A pri­or­ity for the next Gov­ern­ment must be to im­ple­ment a zero tol­er­ance drink-drive limit, mak­ing clear to driv­ers that not a drop of al­co­hol is safe and in­crease in­vest­ment in na­tional roads polic­ing to pro­vide the po­lice with the re­sources they need to tackle the menace of drink driv­ing.”

Sep­a­rate gov­ern­ment statis­tics show that 250 peo­ple in Eng­land were killed in a drink drive ac­ci­dent in 2017 – the high­est fig­ure since 2009.

That was up from 230 in 2016. How­ever the to­tal es­ti­mated ac­ci­dents has fallen over the same pe­riod – from 8,050 to 5,700.

Some of the GMP’s new pup­pies

Pos­i­tive or re­fused breath tests are higher than at any point since 2014.

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