One year on from the introduction of the vehicle forfeiture scheme for those convicted in Scotland of drink or drug driving for a second time, 357 repeat offenders have been caught and a total of 33 have been vehicles seized and 72 vehicles forfeited as of November 16.
Vehicles that are forfeited are sold or destroyed.
The latest figures have been released as ACPOS and other road safety partners launched the Festive Drink Drug Driving Campaign 2010. The month long campaign runs from December 6 until January 3, 2011, and involves all eight Scottish police forces.
This year’s campaign was launched at Lothian and Borders Police Headquarters, Fettes Avenue, Edinburgh on Monday by Chief Constable Kevin Smith, Head of ACPOS Road Policing, Kenny MacAskill Cabinet Secretary for Justice, the Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini QC and John LS Malcolm Chairman of Crimestoppers in Scotland.
For this year’s campaign ACPOS have teamed up with the independent charity Crimestoppers to encourage people across Scotland to report anyone they suspect of drink or drug driving over the festive season.
Commenting on the launch of the 2010 festive campaign Chief Constable Kevin Smith, Chair of the ACPOS Road Policing Business Area said: “In Scotland we are on patrol 24 hours a day, every day of the year catching those who pose a threat to our safety. Last year, 8,504 people in Scotland were caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is staggering that so many people are willing to risk their lives and the lives of others. From today, over the Festive Campaign, we will be increasing our road patrols targeting those who continue to drive under the influence of drink or drugs.
“This year’s campaign marks a year since the Forfeiture Initiative began. The initiative has been a resounding success which can be attributed to the hard work and support of all the partner agencies involved. 357 drivers have been caught driving under the influence of drink or drugs for a second time and 33 vehicles have been seized and 72 vehicles forfeited. The initiative has been a huge success and we are considering the possibility of extending the scheme further to include disqualified drivers and those drivers who provide a high reading. The monetary value of a car may be of little consequence but the loss to the driver in terms of going about their daily business will be extremely high.
“During this year’s ACPOS Summer Drink/Drug Driving Campaign, one in four drivers were caught as a result of calls from the public. With this public support and increased police patrols across Scotland, my message to anyone considering taking to the roads under the influence of drink or drugs is, you will be caught. This irresponsible behaviour risks lives and will not be tolerated. If we catch you we’ll take away your licence. If we catch you again we can take away your car.”
Kenny MacAskill Cabinet Secretary for Justice added: “Despite repeated warnings, some people are still intent on getting behind the wheel of a vehicle whilst under the influence of alcohol. It is reckless, it is totally unacceptable, and it is putting lives at risk. The Scottish public is fed up of drink drivers and their excuses and too many lives are being lost on our roads each year through the careless actions of a few.
“Drink drivers will be met with the full force of the law - they will lose their licence, get a hefty fine and they could face a lengthy prison sentence or have their car seized and crushed. The police campaign during the festive season may catch the attention of the public, but those who flout the law should be aware that this is 24/7 business for all Scotland’s eight forces. The consequences are severe and our message is clear - don’t risk it.
“But we want to get even tougher by lowering the drink drive limit in Scotland because the current limit simply leaves too much room for confusion and sends out the wrong message.
“For years, we’ve been calling on the Westminster Government to take action to lower it UK-wide or to transfer the powers to Scotland to allow us to do it. Now that they have begun that process of transferring powers, we will take action to lower the limit at the earliest available opportunity.”
John LS Malcolm, Chairman of Crimestoppers in Scotland, also added: “Crimestoppers are the only charity fighting crime. We are pleased to be part of this campaign aimed, as it is, at protecting the public. I would encourage those with the relevant information to call 0800 555 111 in total confidence of anonymity.”
Authorities have the power to seek seizure and forfeiture of a driver’s vehicle under the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988. In Scotland, the forfeiture scheme was first introduced during the 2009 ACPOS Festive Drink Drive campaign. It was extended in the summer of 2010 to include drug drivers and now applies to anyone who is caught for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs for a second time.