Dozens arrested by police in Wales for drug-driving

Police officer stops a motorist
Image caption Across England and Wales, more than 400 people a month have been arrested for the offence

More than 50 arrests have been made for drug-driving in Wales, new figures have revealed.

It follows new legislation introduced on 2 March in England and Wales.

But statistics for the four Welsh forces are varied - with one force arresting 34 people and figures suggesting another force had yet to make any arrests.

The figures were obtained by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) in a Freedom Of Information request.

North Wales Police topped the figures in Wales, making 34 arrests up until 20 May.

In South Wales, officers arrested eight people while Dyfed-Powys Police made five arrests up until 30 April.

Sgt Matthew Jacob, from South Wales Police's roads policing unit, said drug-driving offences remained a "priority" for the force.

"We will continue to educate motorists and do all we can to target those who break the law on our roads and put the lives of others at risk by drinking or taking drugs and getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle," he said.

The new law:

  • Low limits have been set for eight illegal drugs, such as cannabis and cocaine
  • Higher levels were set for eight prescription drugs, including diazepam, methadone and morphine
  • Police are able to use a "drugalyser" to screen for cannabis and cocaine at the roadside
  • Even if a driver passes a roadside check, officers will still be able to test at a police station for other drugs such as ecstasy, LSD and ketamine

Penalties if convicted:

  • A minimum one-year driving ban
  • An unlimited fine
  • Up to six months in prison
  • Drug-driving offences on your driving licence which last 11 years

A Dyfed-Powys Police spokeswoman said both drink-driving and drug-driving were taken seriously.

"We will continue to use the new roadside screener now available in our roads policing toolkit, and build on targeting those who would put the lives of others at risk by drinking or taking drugs and getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle," the spokeswoman added.

According to the figures, Gwent Police had made no arrests during April, but the force said it had arrested 10 people since the new law came into force.

Attempts were made to contact North Wales Police for comment.

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