Emergency services join forces for drug driving exercise
April 30 2015
STUDENTS watched in horror as police arrested a young woman for drug driving.
The live-action scenario formed part of a simulated exercise held at Glyndŵr University in Wrexham today (April 29).
Organised by the University’s Psychology department the event brought together the CAIS drug and alcohol agency, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service and North Wales Police.
They were joined by more than 100 students and lecturers representing Engineering, Health, Forensic Science, Computing, TV Production and Design, Film and Technology.
Phill De Prez, programme leader for Psychology, had organised a similar activity two years ago and said the collaboration between subjects adds to the experience of everyone taking part.
“I’d like to again thank all of the emergency services and CAIS for taking the time out to come here and carry out the exercise, and Bagillt Car Spare for supplying the vehicles,” said Phill.
“I think all of the departments involved gained a lot from it because they could all look at the situation from a different perspective and find solutions and key information that relate to their degree programmes.”
The mock incident saw the affected driver’s Volkswagen Polo collide with a minibus before rolling onto its side.
Firefighters were quickly on hand to cut the doors and roof off the vehicle before extracting the woman from the scene.
“The scenario was dealt with exactly how it would be in real life,” added Phill.
“That way it gave us a variety of issues and outcomes, utilising the different partnerships here at the University, and in the emergency services – it was a very worthwhile exercise.”
Drug driving is on the agenda following the introduction of a new law in March, which set legal limits for how much of a substance – both illegal drugs and prescription medication – motorists can have in their system whilst behind the wheel.
Officers from North Wales Police’s Roads Policing Unit now carry a new device that will allow them to carry out a roadside test to see if a motorist has taken cannabis or cocaine.
The ‘DrugWipe’ system will allow officers to determine in less than 10 minutes if a motorist has an illegal substance in their body, by using a swab from the driver’s mouth.
Chief Inspector Darren Wareing from the Roads Policing Unit said: “This new legislation will help make it easier for the police to detect and prosecute drug drivers.
“You don’t have to be on illegal drugs to be unfit to drive – many prescription or over-the-counter medicines can also impair your ability to drive.
“Driving under the influence of drugs not only puts the offender and their passengers at risk but everyone else using the roads as well. In the same way that we take a zero tolerance approach to drink driving, we will also not tolerate drug driving.”
He added: “Our officers are out every day looking for drug drivers but we also need the public’s help to catch them and remove them off the roads. If you know, or suspect someone is driving under the influence of drugs please contact us urgently – you could save a life.”
The penalty under the new offence will be a 12-month ban, disqualification, a fine up to £5,000 and up to six months in prison or both.
Anybody who may have information regarding drug drivers should contact North Wales Police on 101. Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Watch:- You can view a short compilation of the mock crash below