Drink-drivers caught of Christmas Day face missing their turkey and trimmings while they wait to sober up in a police cell.
It will be very much business as usual for Hampshire Constabulary’s roads policing officers on December 25, as the force’s anti-drink-and-drug drive campaign, Smashed, continues.
Officers will be out on roads conducting breath tests of motorists suspected of driving under the influence.
Last year 31 people were arrested on suspicion of drink-driving over Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day and 22 were subsequently charged.
Sergeant Jay Hewes, who will be part of drink-drive operations on Christmas Day, said: “While Christmas is a particularly special and sentimental day in our calendar, it won’t be enough to spare you from the cells if you’ve been caught drink-driving.
“There are no 'get out of jail free' cards and their certainly no Christmas dinner awaiting you back at the station.
“If you know you have to pick up a relative from the train station on Christmas Eve, are collecting the kids from a party or you’re driving everyone to a social event, just make sure you don’t drink. The success of the festivities do not depend on whether you get to drink or not so don’t take the risk.”
Hampshire Constabulary arrested 240 drivers in total last Christmas, with 173 later charged. So far this year, officers had already arrested 109 people – 84 male and 25 female – on suspicion of drink driving.
Andy Bottomley, chief inspector for roads policing for Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police, said: “Any amount of alcohol affects your reaction times. Add a car to that and you’re looking at life-changing and potentially fatal consequences.
“At this time of year alcohol tends to play a big part in the celebrations, whether it’s in a glass or in the food you’re eating. Many festive foods are laced with alcohol and this can be enough to put you over the limit.
“Ignorance is not an excuse and arrogance will simply not be tolerated. Drink-drive and you could destroy someone's life, someone whose family we’ll have to visit to explain their loved one won’t be home for Christmas.
“Please don’t drink and drive. It’s not worth the risk.”
Hampshire Constabulary is asking members of the public across the two counties to text 80999 to report anyone they suspect of drink driving or being drug impaired behind the wheel. The information will be received anonymously, and senders simply need to text the precise location where the driver was last seen, direction of travel if possible, and as many vehicle details as possible – most importantly the number plate.
The number is a text-only service, and will not take phone calls but anyone witnessing a drink drive offence in progress can call 999.