THE PUBLIC are being called on to look out for friends and family who could be over the limit as part of a police campaign.

The warning comes as part of Avon and Somerset Police’s Operation Tonic, a bi-annual campaign that sees high visibility and covert patrols targeting drink and drug drivers.

During the Christmas campaign across Avon and Somerset, almost a fifth of people arrested for drink driving were experiencing depression, poor mental health or substance abuse problems.

Chief Inspector Kevan Rowlands, force lead for Road Safety, said: “The arrests we made in December weren’t the ‘Christmas party people’ we were expecting and many people we arrested had substance abuse issues.

“That’s why we’re asking friends or family of people who might be using alcohol or drugs as a way to cope with a hard time, and are at risk of driving whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs, to talk to them about the risks: from the life-changing impact of being caught, to the potential for serious injury or death.

“If this approach doesn’t work and you are concerned about someone driving under the influence and causing danger to themselves and others, please tell us before someone is seriously injured or killed.”

As part of this month’s operation, police have dedicated intelligence staff working on drink and drug drivers, and have trained a team from the Special Constabulary in drug detection wipes.

These activities compliment a leafleting campaign in pub car parks, letting drivers know that officers are nearby. To help reach family and friends of people with substance abuse issues, the force is also using Facebook advertising.

To give intelligence that someone is driving drunk now, call police on 999. To speak to someone about someone there is concern about, report it through the police website or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.