Drunk drivers escape arrest in Suffolk

Figures obtained by the Suffolk Evening Star under the Freedom of Information Act, show over the past four years, 79 motorists arrested for drink driving have escaped punishment. This year alone four per cent of drink drivers caught over the legal limit in Suffolk have not been prosecuted, because of a technicality.

So far this year police have caught 307 drink drivers in Suffolk. But 14 of them were released without charge because they were not over the legal limit enough to be prosecuted. Since the beginning of 2001, 79 motorists out of 3,669 have avoided being charged with drink driving - a total of two per cent of those arrested.

Sergeant Steve Knight, of Suffolk roads' policing unit, said there was nothing they could do as they were following Home Office guidelines: "Those tested at the roadside who give a positive reading are arrested and brought into police custody where they are given a second test. If this second test falls below the legal limit of 35 mcg in 100 millilitres of breath the case is discontinued. Those exceeding this limit by a small margin are given the option of having a blood test and if this test comes back below the 80 mlg limit then again the case is discontinued. Proceedings will be taken against anyone blowing over 40 mcg."

Technicality sets drink drivers free (Suffolk Evening Star, 2 June 2005)