Letter: Breath-test figures may be dropped

Share
Related Topics
Sir: I take issue with your efforts to discredit the Christmas drink/drive campaign ("Christmas rise in drink-driving revealed as bogus", 13 January).

The statistics announced by me on 2 January, on behalf of all 43 chief constables in England and Wales, indicated an 18 per cent increase over last year in positive breath tests. I drew no inference from this result, other than to say that I was disappointed.

Drawing conclusions from the drink/drive statistics has always been a contentious area. Prior to 1995 we did provide information on the number of tests administered but, as there was no record of the number of motorists actually stopped, comparing the percentage of positive tests against this figure as a measure of success was fundamentally flawed. This presented a misleading picture and we have no wish to return to a situation where data is more a measure of police activity than the extent of drink-driving.

In 1995 we shifted our emphasis to reporting the total number of drink- related accidents but continued to record the number of positive tests because we recognised that the media would wish to make a comparison with previous campaigns and we were trying to be helpful. However, the reaction to the statistics provided this year may well lead us to reappraise the information we provide and possibly lead us to stop publishing the number of positive tests altogether, perhaps only publishing the number of alcohol- related accidents and adding other categories.

I readily acknowledge that there may have been an increase in breath tests over the Christmas period and have never said otherwise. Any increase could well be due to our policy of breath-testing all drivers in all accidents that we deal with. This Christmas campaign was the first to be affected by this policy. Any increase may also have been due to an increase in police activity as indicated by your survey.

To say that my announcement was "bogus" and made in an effort to obtain greater powers is a clear distortion of the facts. The Association of Chief Police Officers has nothing to gain from distorting the results of the campaign. Our position on drinking and driving has been publicly and ethically stated for many years and is well known to the Department of Transport. Reducing the limit is for us a secondary issue and we have concentrated upon introducing the policy of breath-testing after all accidents and seeking unfettered discretion to breath-test, which will enable us to target the hard-core drink/driving offenders.

Articles such as this draw attention away from the real issue, the cost to society in terms of lost lives, injuries and the misery caused by bereavement, not only at Christmas but the whole year round. As far as the police service is concerned, our priorities will lie not in data-gathering but in actively pursuing offenders.

PAUL MANNING

Assistant Commissioner, Metropolitan Police;

Secretary, Council of the Association of Chief Police Officers of England, Wales and Northern Ireland

New Scotland Yard

London SW1

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
More From
Paul Manning
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

KS2 Teacher required from October

£90 - £120 per annum: Randstad Education Hull: Key Stage 2 Supply Teacher requ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester - Computer Futures

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Computer Futures (an SThree br...

Maths Teacher

£85 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: randstad education require a ...

SEN Teacher - Hull

Negotiable: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are recruiting for spe...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: Underground, Overground, over the Irish Sea and clever pigs

John Rentoul
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor