English drink-drive limit ‘should match Scotland’

THE drink-driving limit should be lowered in England and Wales to match the threshold in Scotland, the Police Federation has suggested.

The Police Federation wants England and Wales to follow Scotland's example. Picture (posed by models): John Devlin

The body, which represents rank-and-file officers, said the limit should drop from 80mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood to 50mg, while also warning of a need to address drink-driving by women.

The issue is set to be discussed at the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) annual conference later.

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Victoria Martin, a chief inspector working at the PFEW, told the Daily Telegraph: “We would like to see a lower drink-drive limit, as most other European countries have, as well as Scotland, which saw a marked reduction in failed breathalyser tests as soon as the law was changed last year.

“We would like to see road safety back on the national and local agenda.”

Meanwhile, Ms Martin will address figures from Social Research Associates which showed that nearly one in six women who responded to a survey last year admitted to driving when they thought they were over the limit, while many were unaware how much alcohol would put them over the threshold.

The SRA said anti-drink-driving messages were “not getting across adequately”, including how drinking impacts driving ability, and the risks of getting caught.

Ms Martin told the paper: “We’ve seen a steep decline in men drink-driving over the years, with targeted advertising campaigns, which is great, but women don’t seem to be getting the same message.

“It seems we have a worrying trend, with females still flouting the drink-drive limit, sometimes scarily unaware, putting themselves and others in danger as well as adding to the drain on police resources.”

The annual conference begins amid warnings about the impact of further cuts to services and officers will assemble for the three-day event in Bournemouth to discuss the challenges facing forces.

The most significant item on the agenda is likely to be an address tomorrow by Home Secretary Theresa May - her first major public speech since being reinstalled in the post following the Tories’ election victory.

Warnings about the effects of austerity have been issued ahead of the conference, which has been given the subtitle Cuts Have Consequences.

Steve White, chairman of the PFEW, has claimed policing is “on its knees” and cannot sustain any more cuts.

However, Sara Thornton, chairwoman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, rejected the assessment.

She said: “Despite the challenges, we are by no means a service on our knees.”

About 17,000 officers have been lost from the police services since 2010.

Last year Mrs May stunned delegates with an uncompromising speech in which she delivered a number of bombshell reforms and reeled off a list of scandals which have blighted the reputation of police in recent years.

Counter-terrorism, cyber crime, child protection and drink-driving are among issues which will be discussed at the conference.