A sharp rise in the number of drug-drivers has been put down to better testing equipment by the north-east’s top police officer.
Between April 2020 and March 2021, 363 drivers were found to be over the legal limit for drugs and drink in Aberdeen – a rate of almost one every day.
The figure marks an increase of more than a quarter on the previous year, when 257 people were caught.
Drug-drivers ‘directly linked’ to new tests
However, chief superintendent George Macdonald claimed the rise is down to officers have access to better drug-testing equipment rather than more drivers breaking the law.
Mr Macdonald said the number of people caught driving under the influence is “directly linked” to the introduction of more accurate tests – in particular kits which can test for drugs such as cannabis and cocaine.
“We have absolutely seen an increase in drug-driving because of the use of roadside testing,” he told Aberdeen City Council’s public protection committee.
“We still sadly have to deal with a reasonable level of drink-driving, and there is a cohort of individuals who, regardless of what we do, will continue to drive under the influence of drink and drugs.
“There has been a significant rise in driving under the influence of drugs, and that is directly linked to the fact we are now able to test more accurately for them.
Police ‘more proactive’
“Our proactivity around drugs has increased during the pandemic.”
Since October 2019, officers have used “drug wipe” kits which allow them to test drivers, with immediate results at the roadside enabling them to catch drug-drivers.
In the two years since the equipment became part of the force’s arsenal, constables say they are catching as many people driving under the influence of drugs as drink.