Police Christmas #OpsLimit campaign highlights more drugs than drink in 11 counties across England and Wales

Police Christmas #OpsLimit campaign highlights more drugs than drink in 11 counties across England and Wales

Published: 06/02/2024

Throughout December, Operation Limit saw all police forces across England and Wales increase their presence on the nation's roads and intensify enforcement activity, with the aim of preventing deaths and serious injuries caused by people who chose to drive while under the influence of drink or drugs.  

#OpsLimit figures reported so far: 


Forces reported more drug than drink arrests


Total drug arrests across the England, Scotland and Wales


Total drink and drug arrests so far

These shocking figures highlight the increasing issue of drug driving within the UK – with most forces reporting an increase in arrests compared to previous years.  

Highest drug arrests  

The highest overall drug arrests were reported by Merseyside Police, who arrested 469 for drug driving and 191 for drink driving. 

Roads Policing Chief Inspector, Stuart McIver said: 

 “What we are seeing here is an epidemic of drug driving – and it’s totally unacceptable. People who wouldn’t get in their car after a drink are getting behind the wheel after taking drugs, putting everyone else at risk. 

“The people we’re arresting aren’t habitual drug users struggling with addiction – these are people using drugs recreationally and then choosing to drive. It’s astonishingly selfish. And there’s no excuse for it. 

“The police’s stance on illegal substances is clear: nobody should be taking them.  But even if you choose to break the law and take illegal drugs, that does not give you the right to endanger the lives of innocent people on the roads who have no way of knowing you are driving intoxicated.  

“All the stigma and shame that goes with drink driving absolutely also needs to apply to drug driving. The 469 people we’ve arrested for drug driving could have gotten a taxi. Could have gotten a lift. Could have gotten the bus. Could have stayed at home.  But they didn’t.  They arrogantly put their own convenience above the safety of everyone else in Merseyside.  

“This year’s Operation Limit might have finished – but we haven’t finished tackling drug driving. It’s not acceptable, it will not be tolerated, and we will be cracking down on this all year round.” 

Highest overall arrests 

The highest overall arrests were reported by Scotland Police, who tested 3,700 for drink or drugs, and arrested 831 in total.  

Chief Superintendent Hilary Sloan, head of Road Policing, said:

“We are relentless against drivers who choose to take alcohol or drugs and put the safety of others at risk. 

“The Christmas and New Year period brings a focus on this type of offending and the work carried out by officers to deter and detect drink and drug driving will continue throughout the year, alongside our road safety partnerships. 

“I would like to thank everyone who did the right thing by contacting Police Scotland to tell us about potential offenders and I would encourage people to keep reporting. Intelligence-led activity is a vital part of what we do and you could save a life. 

“The influence people can have on their family and friends who might be considering driving after drinking alcohol or taking drugs can be crucial. 

“We all have a responsibility to improve road safety.” 


Protect your workforce

These startling figures highlight the need for substance misuse to be a priority for all employers.   

D.tec offer an end-to-end solution to support your organisation in managing the health and safety risk substance misuse causes including:  

Drug Testing Devices
 Policy Development
UKAS Accredited Laboratory 
Drager Recalibration
24/7 Support 
Educational Resources   

The DrugWipe device allows a workplace to drug test with minimal disruption – taking only a total of 5 minutes to test for both drink and drugs which can be done on-site.

Contact our account manager today to find out more. 

Tags: operation limit; #opslimit

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