Operation Holly: Hampshire Police launch their Christmas Initiative

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Hampshire Constabulary has announced 2011’s Christmas anti drink-drive campaign, named Operation Holly, which will run until the New Year.

In a bid to stop the rising number of casualties on our roads, the police are working with partner agencies in the local area on their latest project.

During December, officers will take part in operations around Hampshire and the Isle of Wight which target those driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

For the first time, the force will be making full use of the social tools available to them. Twitter will allow their followers to keep up to date with the operation while hash tags will promote awareness of the campaign.

A text service allows the public to report drink drivers instantly and anonymously by sending the last location of the driver, direction of the car and number plate to 80999. It is hoped that the ease of contact will encourage the public to get involved with the campaign.

Inspector Mark Lewis of Hampshire Constabulary spoke to the Wessex Scene about Operation Holly.

“Due to the time of year, students are out more for end of term and Christmas parties. The weather usually turns for the worse so we try to get the message out that it is not worth the risk. With the adverse weather we also get adverse driving conditions so it is important that people aren’t taking chances.”

He also warned of the possible risks for students on the way to lectures the morning after a night out.

“Also a concern for us, are those that drink heavily at night, but then get in their car to drive the next morning and could still be over the limit. Just last weekend in Southampton there were 5 people arrested for drink-drive offences.”

The public are central to the campaign and their help is crucial for its success. When asked what the student community can do, Mr Lewis said:

“The main thing people can do to help is help themselves. Don’t take a risk, even the next morning. Use taxi or night bus. Have a Designated Driver. If someone suspects someone of drink-driving, they can either call us on 999 or text 80999.”

“I think the message is that drink-driving can ruin lives. The victim can be seriously injured or worse and the person who commits the offence can find themselves in trouble and even in prison for the worst offences.”

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