DOZENS of people have been arrested and hundreds more have been stopped in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight as part of a festive crackdown on drink and drug driving.

On December 1, the Joint Operations Roads Policing Unit of Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police launched Operation Holly, which combines educational and enforcement activity and runs until New Year’s Day.

In Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, within the first two weeks of the operation (Wednesday, December 1 to Wednesday, December 15):

+ 567 breath tests were conducted, with ten positive results

+ 78 drug wipes were carried out, with 35 positive results

+ 138 people have been arrested, 84 for drink driving and 54 for drug driving

These figures are set to rise even further, with continued proactive stops in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

One such example was in Anglesea Road in Portsmouth on Friday and Saturday, December 17 and 18, where Roads Policing officers stopped a further 138 cars and six people were arrested – three for drink driving and three for drug driving.

Four vehicles in a dangerous condition were also stopped, with their drivers ordered to have them made roadworthy before being allowed to drive them again. Several other road safety offences were dealt with and tickets were issued.

Yesterday (December 21), officers in Southampton also stopped more than 50 vehicles, with two arrested for drug driving.

Driving while impaired through drink or drugs can increase the chances of people being killed or seriously injured in a road traffic collision.

Sergeant Dave Hazlett, of Hampshire & Thames Valley Police Road Safety Unit, said: “For anyone out there considering driving after drinking alcohol or taking drugs over the festive period, these figures should act as a serious warning.

“We are out in your communities, and if we know the signs of drink and drug driving – so is it worth the risk of being caught, let alone the harm you could do to yourself and other road users?

“Drink and drug driving is one of the four main causes of injury and death on our roads. Even the slightest amount in your system could reduce your ability to drive safely, therefore increasing the risk of causing serious harm to yourself or others.

“We are making arrests and will be stopping more vehicles as the operation progresses, with the help of officers across all areas of Hampshire Constabulary.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank the vast majority of drivers who are making the right choices and complying with the law.

“Our priority is always to make the roads safer for everyone.”

If you know of anyone who is drink or drug driving call 999 in an emergency, 101 with information or report anonymously via Crimestoppers.