LETTER: It's the police who are over the limit

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Sir: While not wishing to condone drinking and driving, I would like to comment on your report "Drivers take sober turn" (22 December), which states that only 4.6 per cent of drivers tested were found to be over the drink-drive limit. This can be taken to reflect a worrying aspect of the erosion of civil liberties.

The objective of the police should be to stop and arrest those who are over the limit. The ideal result would be to stop and test only the 818 who failed the test and not to have tested the 17,107 who were found to be under the limit. These citizens havebeen detained unnecessarily.

It appears to me that the police, by their failure rate of 96 per cent, may be operating a policy of stopping motorists indiscriminately without any reference to their alcohol intake. If the police were to announce that their arrest-to-charge rate was aspoor as this for other offences, there would be widespread concern.

Yours faithfully, P. W. SITCH London, SW18

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