Winter anti drug and drink driving campaign / Operation Holly

Police warn drug and drink drivers “It’s not worth the Risk” as they increase roadside testing this December across Hampshire and the Thames Valley.

A month-long campaign begins today (December 1) to target drivers who cause destruction and distress to others by driving under the influence of either drink or drugs, as part of Operation Holly.

Thames Valley Police and Hampshire Constabulary are working together as part of the two forces’ Joint Operations Unit (JOU) to deter and detect behaviour behind the wheel that puts lives in danger on our roads.

Members of the public are encouraged to report drink or drug drivers by calling 999 if the person is an immediate risk there and then, otherwise please call 101 with the details of the last seen location of the vehicle, make, colour and registration, if known. Alternatively, people can contact Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111. 

Drug driving and drink is recognised by independent research as one of the ‘fatal four’ factors that results in collisions that cause people to be killed or seriously injured.

Officers from both forces will be conducting operations throughout December across the areas of Thames Valley, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. If officers suspect someone may be impaired by drugs they are authorised to carry out a roadside drug test which will detect any trace of an illegal drug.

Road Safety Sergeant for Thames Valley Police, Chris Appleby said: “Drug and drink driving are both very serious offences and all drivers need to understand the gravity and consequences of their actions if they drink and drive. If you are not sure, then it is not worth the risk.”

“Operation Holly is designed to be a deterrent to any motorist thinking about driving while impaired by the effects of drugs or alcohol.  The importance of personal responsibility for your choices must be emphasised.

“Please think about the pain and misery you could inflict on innocent road users by a reckless decision to drive or ride after taking drugs or consuming alcohol.

“Drug drivers should realise we can now test on the roadside for certain drugs. Only a trace amount of an illegal drug in a person’s system could lose them their licence like drink driving. We do not need to prove you are impaired.”

Motorists breaking the law can face a criminal conviction, a prison sentence, driving ban, and the loss of your job.

As part of the campaign every driver involved in a collision will be asked to provide a specimen of breath in accordance with the Road Traffic Act 1988.

Extra patrols will also be carried out based on intelligence about suspected offenders on drug and drink driving.

Sergeant Appleby, adds: “I ask people to remember particularly that it is not possible specifically to say how much alcohol you can drink and stay below the limit. The way alcohol affects you varies depending on your personal characteristics.

“A conviction for drink/drug driving has the potential to ruin a person’s life and the incident itself the potential to cause serious injury or death on the roads - It’s not worth the risk.”

Notes to editors

Invite to media

There will be limited opportunities for press to come out on patrol as part of Operation Holly. Please email to express your interest for consideration by Wednesday 6 December.


The morning after

The morning after is also a crucial time for your decisions and the safety of all road users.

After just four pints of lager, you may not be safe to drive for up to 13 hours, so whether you are drinking in the afternoon at a works Christmas party, or going out for a few drinks in the evening, make sure you are safe to drive.

Just because you haven’t had a drink for a few hours, it doesn’t mean all the alcohol has left your system and you can drive, you are still likely to be over the limit. Equally some illegal drugs can stay in your system for a very long time.


Further consequences

A drug or drink driving conviction is a criminal conviction. Here are some of the consequences of receiving a criminal conviction:

Your car insurance could go up. Having a criminal record will make it extremely difficult to get any other kind of insurance;

To buy a mortgage you have to disclose any unspent convictions

You may not be able to travel to America if you have a criminal conviction. Travelling to a country where you need a visa or a working permit can be very difficult with a criminal record;

Colleges and universities will have their own policies about misconduct and getting in trouble with the police could have a knock on effect with your education;

Lying to your employer on any kind of application which asks you to disclose any criminal convictions could be seen as fraud and lead to a further conviction;

Getting into trouble with the law could be seen as gross misconduct by your employer and you could lose your job;

Having a criminal record could make it very difficult for you to get another job.

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