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Numbers for drink drive arrests in Wales

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DESPITE coronavirus restrictions and a national lockdown in December, Welsh police forces breathalysed almost 5,000 motorists.

Of the 4,906 breath tests administered, 181 (3.7%) motorists failed, or failed to provide a specimen, and will lose their licences.

Officers also carried out 469 DrugWipe tests, with 274 (58.4%) failing, leading to 377 arrests.

Led by Dyfed-Powys Police in Wales, the national campaign saw all four forces take part throughout December to clamp down on drink and drug driving.

Strategic Lead for Roads Policing in Wales, ACC Mark Travis of South Wales Police said, “Drink and drug driving has devastating consequences for families and communities. The majority of drivers are responsible, so we thank those drivers who respect the law and the safety of others. The results of this campaign sadly show that many are not, their behaviour places others at risk and this is unacceptable.

“As a service we are committed to reducing fatal collisions. We will use our resources to target those members of the community who place others at risk and it really is not worth the risk. Let’s make our roads and communities as safe as we possibly can.”

Dyfed-Powys Police Superintendent Clark Jones-John said: “181 drivers in Wales had a Christmas and New Year to remember for all the wrong reasons – after being arrested by our officers for drink and drug driving.

“It is disappointing that some people are still prepared to take the risk and get behind the wheel whilst under the influence.”

Although the figures showed a reduction in the percentage of failures for three of Wales’s forces, Dyfed-Powys Police saw an increase of almost 5%.

The dangers of drink and drug driving are plain to see. Those that do take the risks clearly don’t think about the families of those people who have died at the hands of a driver who is affected by alcohol or drugs.

“Our officers are often the first ones on the scene of these types of collisions and some of the things they have witnessed are horrific. Nobody should ever have to witness that or have to suffer due to the irresponsible and unlawful actions of another.”

In the UK, there were 42,613 breath tests administered, with 3917 (9.2%) failed, or failed to provide. Of the 4,217 drug tests, 2813 (66.7%) were positive.

Supt Jones-John added: “Our officers work 24 hours a day, seven days a week and anyone who is considering driving whilst under the influence should know that we will be out and about waiting for them – please don’t think the rural nature of the region affords you protection because it doesn’t.

“We will continue to crack down on those who take this unnecessary risk and bring them before the courts.”

The Drug-drive arrests by force were as follows: Gwent Police 119, North Wales Police 82, Dyfed-Powys Police 78 and South Wales Police 98

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Stand up for slowing down speed campaign launched

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INAPPROPRIATE speed contributes to around 11% of all injury collisions reported to the police, with 15% of collisions resulting in a serious injury and 24% of collisions resulting in fatalities.

Starting on the 26th July, the National Police Chief Council (NPCC) Speed Campaign will kick off across the UK, with GoSafe and the four Welsh Police Forces participating in both engaging with the public about the risks of speeding and enforcing the speed limits on the roads of Wales.

In 2019, 60,073 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) were issued in Wales to drivers/riders for speeding.

Speeding is a major contributing factor to collisions on the roads of Wales. This includes both ‘excessive speed’, where the speed limit is exceeded, as well as driving or riding within the speed limit when this is too fast for the conditions at the time; for example, in poor weather, poor visibility or high pedestrian activity.

During the Coronavirus pandemic, we saw less traffic but higher speeds.  Now our restrictions are lifting, traffic volumes are up and as we are holidaying in the UK more, we are seeing more people speeding on the roads in Wales.  We want to change this, but can only do that with your help.

 Over the next few weeks you will see an increased presence on the road network of Wales as we aim to keep all road users safe and reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads.

 We know that the majority of road users comply with the speed limit; but the minority of those who do not increases the risk to the safety of all road users and need to be educated on the risks to their own safety as well as to the safety of those around them. Throughout this campaign, GoSafe and our partners in the Police and Local Authorities will encourage and educate more people to reduce their speed to save lives.

Teresa Ciano, GoSafe Partnership Manager said: “GoSafe enforce at sites across Wales in order to encourage motorists to comply with the speed limits and in turn make our roads and communities safer for everyone. If we all play our part and stand up for slowing down we can make a difference, and we can save lives on the roads of Wales.”

Lee Waters MS, Deputy Minister for Climate Change said: “I am very pleased to support this campaign. Driving at high speeds costs lives and a greater police presence on our roads will mean motorists will be more likely to drive within the speed limits, protecting lives and avoiding a speeding fine.”

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Cardigan man accused of murder in court

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John Williams Bell was found murdered in Cardigan

A CARDIGAN man who is accused of stabbing a man to death has appeared in court today (Jul 28).

Ashley Keegan, 22, of Golwyg y Castell, Cardigan, appeared before court via video link where he spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth.

Swansea crown court heard how Keegan is accused of stabbing 37-year-old John Williams Bell seven times in the back.

Mr Bell’s body was discovered in the early hours of Wednesday Morning, July 21, on the road to Cardigan Bridge.

The court set a provisional trial date for January 3, 2022.

Keegan will remain remanded into custody until the trial.

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Suspected drink driver tracked for two miles by police dog

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A SUSPECTED drink driver was arrested after a police dog tracked him for two miles along a cycle path.

Dyfed-Powys Police dog Storm and his handler PC Mike Barnsley located the driver following a collision between Bont and Tregaron on Sunday, July 25.

Officers had attended the scene of the collision, discovering that a car had hit a tree and overturned – however, the driver was not present.

PC Barnsley said: “There were concerns that the driver could have been injured due to the significant damage to the car, so a search was immediately launched to find them.

“With PD Storm, I focussed on the cycle path running alongside the road, where Storm picked up a track and followed it for around two miles.

“Local response units accessed the cycle path ahead of us, while another unit searched from the main road along an unclassified road in the same direction.”

PC Barnsley and Storm reported a sighting of a man on the cycle path, and he was stopped and arrested on suspicion of drink driving.

Sergeant David Hawksworth said: “This was an excellent demonstration of teamwork and coordination by officers, whose good local knowledge resulted in the suspect being swiftly found and arrested.”

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