The RCIPS Holiday Safety Campaign is ongoing this week, as the intensified road enforcement operations which began at the beginning of the month continue throughout the holiday season. These enforcement operations include an increase in traffic stops and high visibility patrols, led by the Traffic and Roads Policing Unit. The aim is to reduce traffic collisions and increase road safety, in part by cracking down on drunk driving and speeding, while also targeting offenses such as illegal tint and driving while disqualified.
Since the beginning of December, 32 arrests for DUI have been made, with 6 of those arrested having a blood alcohol content of over twice the legal limit, and in one case over three times the limit. Officers from the Traffic and Roads Policing Unit have also arrested 11 persons on suspicion of driving while disqualified or driving without being qualified, issued 21 tickets for speeding, and 150 tickets for illegal tint.
The RCIPS has also partnered once again with the National Drug Council in support of the 18th annual Designated Driver and New Year’s Eve Purple Ribbon Bus Campaigns. The RCIPS would like to remind that public that the Designated Driver Campaign is running throughout the holiday season, and is an initiative among local restaurants to offer designated drivers complimentary soft drinks throughout the evening. The Purple Ribbon Bus service provides free bus service on New Year’s Eve from 9:00PM to 4:00AM. The service runs between West Bay and Bodden Town every 15 minutes, with occasional service to East End and North Side.
“You don’t need to refrain from drinking as you participate in the festivities during the holiday season,” said Inspector Ian Yearwood of the Traffic and Roads Policing Unit. “However, if you do intend to drink, it is essential that you make plans in advance for alternative transportation, whether that be a designated driver, a taxi, or the Purple Ribbon Bus on New Year’s Eve. Whatever the situation, there is no excuse for choosing to drink and drive.”
School children have not been left out of the Holiday Safety Campaign this year either, as community officers have been attending various schools throughout the month, giving presentations on topics such as safety on the road and at home, with the aim of helping them stay safe while out of school over the holidays.
Another aspect of increased police activity during the holiday season has been strengthening crime and robbery prevention in the business community during this period of heightened commercial activity. Community Police officers have been conducting evening foot patrols this week in main commercial areas around the island to increase visibility and reassurance to business owners and shoppers.
“Businesses are open later this week to accommodate shoppers in the days leading up to Christmas,” said Inspector Courtney Myles of the Community Policing Department, “and we recognize that it is important for people to feel a degree of security into the later evening and up to closing time to get their shopping done. Greater police visibility offers that reassurance, especially in the form of foot patrols.”
In addition to the main shopping areas in central George Town, CPD officers will also be conducting foot patrols in commercial areas throughout the districts, also focusing on visits to smaller businesses. On Wednesday evening, 19 December, CPD officers were on foot patrol near the four-way stop in West Bay, stopping into the gas station, diner and electronics store and checking in with proprietors.
“In addition to neighbourhood watches, we are also trying to encourage a business watch in West Bay,” said SPC Leslie Franklin, Beat Officer for Morgan’s Harbour (Beat 12). “Businesses have different needs and concerns and can benefit from joining forces and working closely with police.”
Anyone interested in starting a business watch should contact their community beat officer. Contact details for beat officers can be found at http://www.rcips.ky/community/.
Additionally, a library of safety tips on various topics can be found at http://www.rcips.ky/crime-prevention.
A targeted increase in police presence both in commercial areas and on the road will continue until the New Year with the intention of ensuring a safe holiday season for members of the public as they travel the roads and do their shopping. Safer roads, however, require checkpoints that can cause delays.
“We ask for the public’s patience as we take the necessary measures to disrupt drunk driving and keep our roads safe throughout this period,” said Inspector Yearwood, “motorists should include extra travel time in their plans.”
“This is another reason to make alternative arrangements for transportation,” added the inspector, “you can avoid getting a DUI and reduce holiday traffic on the road at the same time.”