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North Wales Police caught highest number of drug driving offenders per capita

10 Apr 2022 3 minute read
A driver stopped by police. Picture by West Midlands police (CC BY-SA 2.0).

North Wales Police caught the highest number of drug driving offences per capita across Wales and England in 2020, newly released Ministry of Justice figures have shown.

Only four police force areas across Wales and England recorded more drug-driving than drink driving offences, and two were in Wales – North Wales and Dyfed-Powys.

North Wales Police had 89.8 drug-driving offences per 100,000 people and Dyfed-Powys had 57.8, the figures released to The Sunday Times showed.

Gwent Police were ninth out of the 43 police forces across Wales an England with 45.2 drug-driving offences per 100,000. South Wales Police had 29.4.

In 2020, North Wales Police recorded 624 drug driving offences, Dyfed-Powys had 298, Gwent had 263, and South Wales Police, which serves Wales’ most populated area, 384.

Last week Grant Shapps, the UK Transport Secretary, announced a call for evidence as part of proposed reforms into how drug-driving offences are handled. Justice remains a reserved matter for the UK Government.

“Drink-driving is now rightly seen as a social taboo by most of us in this country and we have worked hard to drive down drink-drive-related deaths,” he said.

“But, if we are to make our roads safer still, there is no room to be lax on drug-driving, which is why I have launched this call for evidence today.”


The figures were released on the same week that Cardiff Crown Court sentences a man to nine years in jail for killing two young children and injuring their mother in a motorway crash while under the influence of drink and drugs.

Martin Newman, 41, admitted causing the deaths by dangerous driving of Jayden-Lee Lucas, three, and his four-year-old sister, Gracie-Ann Wheaton, at 1.45pm on Saturday February 5.

He further admitted seriously injuring their mother, Rhiannon Lucas, being twice over the drink-driving limit and having traces of cocaine in his system.

Their family have expressed anger at the sentence and said they will appeal for a harsher punishment that better reflects the loss of two children.

Judge Daniel Williams said Newman’s offending was the “most serious level of dangerous driving”. But said he was unable to impose a higher sentence than the law allowed.

“Parliament set the maximum sentence at 14 years’ imprisonment,” he said. “Many will think such a maximum sentence inadequate to reflect what you’ve done. Many might call for the maximum sentence to be re-examined.

“That’s not a matter for the court, but for Parliament.”

Gwent Police said of the case: “This is a tragic case that has resulted in the needless loss of two young lives.

“Newman’s reckless actions highlight the real dangers of irresponsible driving, which can have such a devastating impact on other innocent road users.

“He was left with no option but to plead guilty owing to the overwhelming amount of evidence gathered by our investigation team.

“Our thoughts remain with the family at this time.”

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The original mark
The original mark
1 year ago

Are these figures based on 100,000 driving offences or 100k people per force aera, either way, considering the number of people using drugs these figures seem pretty small.

NOT Grayham Jones
NOT Grayham Jones
1 year ago

Its 100K people per force area however the number of people in North Wales varies considerably during various times due to tourism i wouldnt take much notice of this Stat. The actual number caught is more realistic but again i would like to know how many tests were done in each are for a true comparison. If North Wales are doing twice as many tests as Dyfed Powys then the numbers caught are less significant.

1 year ago

You notice that the drug driving offences are in the rural areas. I wonder if it is harder to police rural roads so people think they can get away with it. It is also prettier than the industrialised south. Perhaps people like to get high and go for a nice drive? I honestly don’t know. My body is a temple (or a least a reasonably well maintained slightly ramshackle Welsh Methodist Chapel) and I’ve never done any sort of drugs that weren’t prescribed by a doctor, or bought at a Chemists. But it is interesti9ng that these are the more… Read more »

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