Operation Holly – drink and drug driving campaign.
PC Mark Ranola
Operation Holly is the name given to the annual drink and drug drive campaign conducted by Hampshire and Thames Valley Police, who share a Roads Policing Unit, but this campaign includes all uniformed police officers.
The operation runs from 1st December to 1st January, covering the festive season, but it is important to understand that road safety is business as usual for police, therefore patrol officers remain vigilant to those who present a danger to other`s on our roads all year round.
It is also important to remember the meaning behind the name given to the Operation – Holly was the name of a young girl who died as a passenger in her parent`s car when they were pulling off the driveway of their home and hit by a drink driver. The family bravely allowed the use of their daughter`s name in road safety campaigns.
The campaign combines educational and enforcement activity in the run up to Christmas and New Year to tackle drink and drug driving.
Driving while impaired through drink or drugs can increase the chances of road users being killed or seriously injured in a road traffic collision.
Sergeant Dave Hazlett, of the Joint Operations Roads Policing Unit, said: “Every year we run Op Holly and every year we find that people still take to the roads having drunk too much alcohol or having taken drugs that will impair their driving.
“It is important to plan how you are going to get home after a Christmas party or a night out. Consider using public transport, taxis or have a designated driver, especially if going out in groups.
Think carefully about the morning after. It’s is highly likely that you will still be over the limit the next morning as it can take hours for alcohol and drugs to leave your system.
“Even the slightest amount of alcohol or drugs in your system has the ability to effect the way you drive; increasing the risk of serious harm to either yourself or other road users.
“Therefore, this festive season, plan your journeys, think about how you are going to get home as this can reduce the chances of families facing Christmas and the future without their loved ones.
“Our message is simple. Don’t drink or drug drive – it’s not worth the risk.
“If you know of anyone who is drink or drug driving call 999 in an emergency, 101 with information or report via Crimestoppers.”
The national charity Crimestoppers can be contacted via phone – 0800 555 111 or online (https://crimestoppers-uk.org) It is anonymous.
This year, the campaign throughout Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, recorded the following data within the first two weeks of the operation (Wednesday 1st December to Wednesday 15th December):
- + 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
The figures for the whole period will be known shortly, but the focus should be on the fact that people will still take the risk and potentially cause others serious injury or death.
Road safety campaigns in the UK have been around for decades, with national adverts on our TV and public places. These have often highlighted serious injury and fatalities as a method to engage the public, but there are other serious matters to take into account too:
The loss of your driving licence would cause you to lose your job if you need to drive. The same could happen if you needed to drive to get to work.
A loss of income could also put your home at risk if you could no longer afford rent or mortgage payments.
Socially, you would be very limited too and if you have children who need a lift to school, these are other factors.
This week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that there will be no further restrictions imposed in England before New Year, so parties and other gatherings will go ahead as planned.
Historically New Year celebrations involve alcohol, so this is a timely reminder for people to think first and avoid alcohol; don`t take any chances and certainly don`t listen to someone who may tell you that it is safe to drink a certain amount because there is no safe amount – your driving ability will be impaired whatever you drink and you will face prosecution if alcohol is proved to be a factor in a road collision.
We see some people using e-scooters on our roads and other public places. For anyone thinking that this may provide a good alternative way of travelling to a party and drinking, think again. Last December on the Isle of Wight, Kyah Jordan, age 20, was almost three times over the limit when she went through a red light and almost crashed into an unmarked police car.
Kyah used a publically available e-scooter, but was still banned from driving for two years, since e-scooters are classed as a `motor vehicle`, like mopeds.
Stay safe this New Year and onwards.
I trust you all had a good Christmas and I wish you a happy and prosperous New Year.
PC 1860 Mark Ranola.
Yateley Police Station.