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Crackdown on Motorists Causes Rise in Criminal Convictions Across Scotland

For the first time in seven years in Scotland, the number of criminal proceedings and convictions has risen, with the police crackdown on motorists said to be the reason.

There was a four per cent rise in criminal cases and convictions in 2013/14, marking an increase of almost 5,000 proceedings in Scotland’s courts. However, a report released by the Scottish Government shows that over the year there was an increase of more than 4,800 motoring convictions, which shows the rise has been driven by Police Scotland’s “operational practice”.

While road safety groups welcomed the finding, the low level motoring offences being prosecuted raises doubts as to why there is such a focus on punishing ordinary citizens, when police time could be better spent focusing on more serious crimes.

Motoring fines accounted for most the 5,000 rise in overall convictions, with vehicle defect convictions increased by 30 per cent; seatbelt offences increased by 24 per cent; and speeding offences rose by 17 per cent, which are all usually less serious offences. On the other hand, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, considered a more serious offence, dropped by 14 per cent.

The chief constable of Police Scotland Sir Stephen House, however, has been clear about the intention to crackdown on motorists by introducing a specialist trunk road patrol team last year, which resulted in a significant rise in driving offences.

Furthermore, Chief Superintendent Iain Murray – who is head of Police Scotland’s road policing – said: “We are committed to influencing road user behaviour and reducing the numbers of casualties Scotland’s roads and officers routinely deal with risk-taking behaviour that we know puts people unnecessarily at risk.

“A total of 172 people were killed on Scotland’s roads in 2013, more than three times the number that were murdered, and more than 1,600 were seriously injured. When it comes to risk taking, there is no such thing as a low level motoring offence, and the consequences of speeding, drink/drug driving, not wearing a seatbelt or using your mobile phone whilst driving can be catastrophic”, Mr Murray explained.

The AA are one of the groups happy with the rise, saying: “It sends a very clear message to drivers who might be tempted not to get their cars MOT’d or drive around in faulty cars, and also the ones who try their luck breaking the law, that the police in Scotland are a bit more proactive than maybe those in other parts of the UK and they shouldn’t assume that they will be able to get away with it”.

It may have been expected that following Scotland’s new lower drink-driving limit more motorists would have been caught, but in the first week after the law changed, 30 per cent fewer cases of the crime were recorded, despite large police presence on annual “festive” patrols.

Contact us – Drink Driving Advice Lawyers in Glasgow, Scotland

If you have been charged with a drink driving offience, another road traffic offence or a different criminal issue altogether our criminal defence lawyers provide 24-hour advice and assistance. Please contact us today by clicking here. You can also call 0141 530 1193