Ruffley: 'Why have Suffolk breath tests plummeted by a massive one third in the last nine years?'

Monday, 2 July, 2007

David Ruffley MP has today written to the Chief Constable of Suffolk Constabulary, Simon Ash, asking why Suffolk Police conducted fewer breath tests in 2004, the latest year for which figures are available, than in 1997.

New House of Commons figures reveal that in 1997 Suffolk Constabulary conducted 12,300 breath tests. In 2004, 10,600 tests were conducted.

David said:

'It seems strange to me that Suffolk Constabulary is conducting fewer breath tests than they did in 1997 and a colossal 32 percent fewer than in 1998.

'With more and more cars on our roads, and the perils of drink driving at the top of the road safety agenda, it seems illogical that the number of breath tests our police officers are conducting should fall.

'I have my suspicions that the amount of red tape that Police Officers have to contend with, coupled with fewer officers on the beat, means that our hard working policemen and women do not have the man hours to clamp down on drink driving as effectively as they may have done in the past.

'Drink driving is a selfish and irresponsible crime, a crime that can cost lives and a crime that we must do our utmost to eradicate.

'I have today written to the Chief Constable of Suffolk, Simon Ash, asking for his explanation for this fall in the number of breath tests conducted and asking him what assurances he can give the people of Suffolk that combating drink driving is a priority for his force.

'To further investigate the matter I have tabled a House of Commons question, to the Home Secretary, asking how many of the breath tests that have been conducted in the Suffolk, and the rest of the East of England, returned positive results.'