Specials join police operation to catch motorists who are driving under the influence
A weekend of action is set to be run by a group of special constables as they look to crack down on car crime in the region.
More than a dozen special constables from Northumbria Police will be volunteering their own time this weekend as they join the Op Dragoon team as part of the Christmas Drink and Drug Drive campaign.
They will be armed with a speed gun, a breathalyser and a drug testing kit in a bid to crack down on drivers who get behind the wheel while under the influence.
It will also involve them stopping vehicles across Newcastle and Gateshead and checking them to make sure that they are roadworthy, taxed, fully insured and MOT'd.
The special constables have run the campaign in the lead up to Christmas for the past two years as they look to take on the ‘fatal four’ - drink and drug driving, speeding, using a mobile phone, and not wearing a seat belt
It is the third year in a row the operation has run, and although regular officers will join them on patrol, it will be fully led by the Special Constabulary.
It is just one of the initiatives being run this as part of Northumbria Police's drink and drug driving campaign.
Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt, the force's operational lead for volunteers, said the Special Constabulary is a valuable asset in keeping local communities safe.
She said: "The Special Constabulary play an important role in supporting our officers in their daily duties, and I am really proud of the work they do.
"All our specials volunteer their own time to keep our communities safe, and many of them are at university or in full-time employment.
"It is through their desire to keep local people safe that they come into the station at a weekend and run an operation such as this one.
"This year their focus is supporting the Op Dragoon team in cracking down on drivers who have got behind the wheel under the influence of drink or drugs.
“We know that at this time of year people are getting into the festivities and attending Christmas parties, but that is no excuse.
"If you’re going to be drinking then arrange how you are getting home in advance.
“As part of the initiative, our specials will also proactively look to take illegal cars off the road - whether that is because they are not safe or because they don't have the appropriate documentation.
"Many of the vehicles who flout these rules will also be linked to criminality, so when we uplift them we are disrupting criminal activity across the force.
“They will also be saving lives by tackling the ‘fatal four’, which are the four most common motoring offences that lead to fatal road collisions.
"I want to thank the Special Constabulary for the work they do here in Northumbria. They are a credit to themselves and to the people they serve."
Anyone caught drink or drug driving will be banned from the road for at least 12 months and fined up to Â£5,000. Serious offenders could also end up being sent to prison.
Anyone interested in joining the Special Constabulary should visit the Northumbria Police website or follow @Northumbriapol on Twitter for news of upcoming open days.