Posts Tagged ‘Home Office’

Police arrest 200 drink drivers each day in December

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Police forces across England and Wales have collated their drink drive statistics for the festive period. In December 2010, due to the extreme wintry weather conditions, officers stopped and tested 170,000 motorists. For the same period a year earlier they did the same with a total of 223,000 drivers.

On average arrests were slightly up last year at just below four per cent of all those stopped. However, police sources say this was not a dramatic increase. Association of Chief Police Officers’ road policing spokesperson, Chief Constable Mick Giannasi, said it was still unacceptable that in such poor weather conditions that there were drivers prepared to risk the lives of others as well as their own.

Of those subjected to drink and drug testing, 6,613 were placed under arrest. This works out at around 200 drivers being caught breaking the law each day during December. Giannasi explained that many of these motorists not only faced a driving ban, but time behind bars and potentially losing their jobs.

Police across the UK used various tactics to apprehend drivers who had either had too much to drink or had taken illegal substances. These included acting on tip-offs from the public and stopping vehicles at random.

Although officers can tell quickly if a driver is over the permitted alcohol limit by using a breathalyser, there is still no similar device to tell whether a motorist has taken illegal drugs. The Home Office is in talks with various firms about developing such a device to be used at the roadside as well as in police stations.

Convictions down although mobile phone use while driving on the rise

Friday, May 7th, 2010

The number of convictions for drivers using their mobile phones is down for the third straight year, although more people are believed to be in violation of the law. The Home Office released the statistics for 2008-2009, and found that while 116,000 UK drivers were prosecuted for mobile phone use, studies indicate an increase of 27 per cent in phone use by motorists during the same period. The prosecution rate was five per cent lower than that found in 2007-2008.

Violations of the driving laws were brought to the forefront recently when Children’s Secretary Ed Balls was fined £60 for using his phone while driving, which he claimed was because he didn’t want to wake his children, who were asleep in the car at the time, by using his hands-free kit. Mr Balls was also given three points for the offense.

Motorist watchdog groups are unhappy with the low rate of convictions, and a spokesperson for the Institute of Advanced Motorists said that the problem lies in a lack of enforcement of the rules. The spokesperson went on to say that drivers feel they won’t get caught for the offense, which was made punishable by law on 27 February 2007. Advocates are now calling for a one-year driving ban for all those convicted of mobile phone use while behind the wheel.

Less Britons applying for passports

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

A new report put together by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has revealed that the number of people in the U.K. applying for a new passport or applying to have an old one renewed has dropped by ten percent since 2007. Sir David Normington, Home Office permanent secretary said earlier this year that he thought the drop in those applying could be blamed directly on the recession. He said that people were now either not renewing passports or waiting until they knew they would need them before applying. He went on to say that the price of a new passport was probably putting people off. At the time Sir David was speaking U.K. passports cost £72 (they are now £77.50) and he said that at a time when most air fares are cheaper than that people are realising that a new passport takes quite a chunk out of the holiday budget.

Because less people are applying for passports the Identity and Passport Service has had to redistribute around ten percent of its workers to places where there is a high demand for customer service such as JobCentres.

The new figures have been released as part of an investigation into the Home Office’s management of its finances. The investigation was launched in 2006 when the Home Office finances were described as being in disarray. Three years on the report says that there have been dramatic improvements. The Home Office is now being held up as an example to other sectors of the civil service.