Drink and drug-driving incidents soar – yet convictions fall

By Lucy Ashton

The number of drink- and drug-driving incidents has soared in recent years, at the same time as the number of convictions has plummeted, according to “deeply alarming” new statistics.

The figures, contained in a written answer from Justice Secretary Keith Brown, show that that the total number of offences related to drink/drug-driving rose from 5,218 in 2014/15 to 7,773 in 2021/22 – an increase of almost 50 per cent.

However, in the same seven-year period, the total number of drivers being convicted for these offences fell from 3,681 to 2,185 – a fall of 40 per cent.

Conservative shadow justice secretary Jamie Greene, who submitted the parliamentary question, blames the diverging figures on the SNP government, which has presided over falling police numbers and a growing backlog in court cases.

Conservative Jamie Greene and SNP Justice Secretary Keith Brown.

Jamie Greene MSP said: “These deeply alarming figures lay bare the SNP’s mismanagement of the justice system.  It’s appalling that more and more people are willing to risk their own lives – and more importantly those of others – by drink or drug-driving. And it’s equally unacceptable that as the number of offences is rising rapidly, the number of convictions is plummeting.

“This suggest that the huge backlog of cases in Scotland’s courts, as well as reduced police numbers – both of which stem in large part from SNP budget cuts – are delaying or preventing criminals being brought to justice.

“In turn, this sends out a dreadful message to the public that these offences are not treated seriously by the authorities. It’s another glaring example of the SNP’s soft-touch approach to justice in action.

“Ministers must reverse their damaging budget cuts to ensure that our police and courts system have the resources to operate effectively, administer justice and provide a deterrent against drink and drug-driving.”

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