Northumbria Police will be testing road users, including taxi and private hire drivers, for drug driving, after announcing the purchase of hundreds of new portable testing kits.
Warning road users, Northumbria Police said: 'Drivers who take to the roads under the influence of drugs should be on guard as we have started carrying out stop checks in our busy city centre.
'We can reveal we have received funding from Newcastle City Council and Gateshead Council to purchase hundreds of new portable drug testing kits.'
The new equipment enables police officers to test drivers on the roadside and get immediate results telling them whether or not the driver is under the influence.
Traffic officers have been utilising the equipment since the new drug driving laws were introduced, but now Special Constables will be carrying out stop checks in Newcastle city centre and Gateshead town centre to make sure nobody is putting lives at risk.
They will also be testing taxi and private hire drivers operating in the city to ensure they aren’t putting innocent lives at risk by driving while high on drugs.
Operation Beacon has already been running for two weeks and more than a hundred vehicles have been stopped.
One driver was arrested for driving under the influence of drugs, while dozens more were dealt with for potentially dangerous vehicle defects.
Sergeant Pinner Rana, of the Motor Patrols Department, said: “Drug driving puts lives at risk and there is absolutely no excuse for it.
“It is particularly dangerous for someone to be driving in our busy city centres while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
“There are a number of pedestrians and vulnerable road users whose lives could be put at risk through reckless behaviour behind the wheel.
“We will be carrying out a number of stop checks in the coming weeks and that will see visitors to the city centre, commercial drivers and taxi drivers all being tested.
“This operation will be carried out by our traffic Special Constables who are all volunteers and give up their free time to keep the public safe.
“I am proud of the work they do and want to thank them for showing such commitment to supporting operational policing.”
Image credit: Northumbria Police