THE number of people arrested in Hampshire for drink-driving during December has risen – despite a hard-hitting campaign.
A total of 196 people were arrested in the county on suspicion of drink-driving up to Sunday, December 29 during the month-long campaign. During the same period last year, 174 people were arrested.
The total figure includes 167 men and 29 women, with the oldest person arrested aged 82 and the youngest 17.
There were 13 arrests in Basingstoke and Deane, and 14 in Hart, which covers villages including Hartley Wintney and Odiham, as well as towns such as Fleet and Aldershot.
This year’s Hampshire Police anti drink/drug-drive campaign centred around the death of Evey Staley, a 10-year-old girl who was killed on the Isle of Wight in August 2012 when her family’s car was hit by a driver who was two-and-a-half times over the drink-drive limit and had been smoking cannabis.
Robert Blakely, 31, from Sandown, was jailed for 10 years after admitting causing death by driving without due care while under the influence of alcohol.
Hampshire Police officers handed out purple ribbons during the campaign – Evey’s favourite colour. The family’s wrecked vehicle was displayed at roadshows throughout Hampshire, including Basingstoke, and video interviews with Evey’s grieving parents Neal and Penny were published in the media and made available via the force’s website.
Neal said: “It’s quite a tough thing to get your head around – the fact that one incident can have such an impact on a family.
“We lost Evey and we take a crumb of comfort knowing that she went pretty much instantaneously and that she didn’t suffer, but why be so selfish to put a family in that position?
“We will be like this for the rest of our lives. We cry every day and have done since the crash, and I can’t see that stopping.”
Inspector Andy Storey, campaign leader for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, said the aim was to make drink-driving “socially unacceptable”.
But two weeks into the initiative, arrest figures were already higher than for the same period in the previous year.
Insp Storey said: “It is disappointing that people still are not getting the message about drink-driving. It is astounding that people are still taking the risk.”