Issue 39 October 2021 - Journal - Page 84
Drink & Drug Driving Christmas Campaign
by Ms. Joanne Caffrey
As we approach Christmas and the national drink &
drug driving policing initiative periods I review the
controversial issue of drink/drug driver prosecutions
and look at two aspects:
• Can innocent people end up being convicted of a
drink/drug drive offence?
• Can the guilty avoid conviction?
I previously taught constables the roadside procedures and by 2006 I was teaching custody staff
(sergeants and detention officers) the safer custody
aspects of dealing with drink & drug driver cases, and
about the supervision of constables at the station
conducting such procedures.
So how could an innocent person face a conviction?
It is essential that procedures are conducted to make
any custody and prosecution safe. Not all members
of the public have previous involvement with the
police and criminal justice system so do not understand how this could happen. Let’s have a look at a
Upon initial glance many might wonder how my
expertise of police custody procedures and ‘safer
custody’ apply to the drink/drug drive procedure.
Drink/Drug drive procedures are part of the custody
portfolio due to the station procedures aspects. All
pre-arrest contact is part of the 'safer custody' portfolio. The legislation under the Road Traffic Act is
under the roads policing portfolio, but overlaps with
the custody portfolio.
We are within a Christmas drink/drug drive
campaign and officers are encouraged to utilise their
powers to request a preliminary breath test whenever
possible. A motorist is driving home from work along
a road within the 60 miles per hour speed limit. They
are less than a minute away from home when all of a
sudden a learner driver ‘bunny-hops’ out of a
junction into the side of their vehicle. They loose control of their vehicle, mount the kerb and hit a wall.
During this process they have struck the side window
with their head and the air bag has deployed. They
have sustained a head wound and blood is dripping
down their face. They are unable to hear due to the
airbag deployment affecting their hearing.
When I was operational all station and hospital procedures were conducted by a sergeant, so every constable
request was conducted by the sergeant. This meant
when I was on duty I handled all station and hospital
procedures for my policing division. There was hardly
a day without a station procedure being conducted.
During my police service I also trained as an
intoxilyser trainer, completing the course at National
Police Training, Harrogate. I trained other custody
sergeants how to use the intoxyliser and conduct station evidential procedures, including all the MGDD
forms. Following the adoption of 'safer custody' by
2006, the sergeant was removed from the process to
keep them impartial and focused upon the care and
detention of the detainee.
EXPERT WITNESS JOURNAL
Their stress hormones – adrenaline – activate with a
sudden rush of fight/flight surging through their
body. They are in complete panic. Their mind has
gone into complete emotional response. They want to
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