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Police alco-analyser ‘temporarily out of order’

Officers still able to test blood and urine of allegedly impaired people

By Jonathan Bell

Police alco-analyser equipment is “temporarily out of order” — but the force warned that it won’t prevent them from stopping and prosecuting impaired drivers.

The revelation came as police promised a “significant presence” on the Island’s roads and waters during the Bermuda Day holiday weekend.

According to Chief Inspector Simon Groves: “Temporarily, and I mean in the short term, there are faults with the alco-analyser machine.

“However, there are numerous offences in connection with drink driving and many other ways of gathering evidence.”

The fault with the machine will “in no way affect” a rigorous crackdown on speeding and impaired driving this weekend, he added.

A police spokesman confirmed that technical problems at the Government Laboratory had “temporarily halted” the production of a solution needed to calibrate the device.

“This situation has persisted for one week so far and is not expected to be rectified until the end of the month,” he said.

“Drivers can still be prosecuted for driving while impaired where there is evidence of that impairment and the temporary loss of the ability to test a driver’s breath has no impact on any lawful demands for blood or urine.”

Policing of the parade route, the Island’s waters and public spaces in general will be bolstered this weekend by reserve police, the Bermuda Regiment, and private security firms.

Ch Insp Groves added that police “will deal swiftly with any of those who may wish to spoil the day for others”.

And, with members of the public already marking off their spots for Friday’s parade, he reminded residents there are no legal grounds for anyone to claim a spot unless it’s on their own private property.

In the event of disputes, Ch Insp Groves said, “there is no way that we can support one side or the other — what we will do is prevent a breach of the peace”.

Police also reminded spectators to keep off the roads, especially during races. Races cannot start until marshals are satisfied that the paths are obstruction free.

The parade, which follows the same route as last year, will commence at 1.30pm in Bernard Park and finish at City Hall. Roads will be closed, and anyone driving in the city that day should plan accordingly. The route will be patrolled by police.

According to Ch Insp Jerome Laws, liquor licensed premises can expect to be checked over the holiday, and patrols will pay particular attention to public disorder, weapons possession and public drug use.

Road Safety Council Chairman Carlton Crockwell noted there had “recently been a marked decrease” in collisions on the Island’s roads.

He called on drivers to stick below speed limits, fasten helmets correctly and ensure that children are secured in rear seats.

The Council has partnered with Friday’s Sinclair Packwood Race.

And CADA chairman Anthony Santucci warned that over the past five years more than 50 people have died on Bermuda’s roads — five so far this year.

“We know as a result of statistics that a significant number of individuals perish on the roads as a result of alcohol or drugs,” Mr Santucci said, warning revellers to always travel by bus, cab or with a designated driver.

Police wished the public a safe and happy holiday weekend.

Chief Inspector Simon Groves

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Published May 23, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated May 22, 2013 at 11:55 pm)

Police alco-analyser ‘temporarily out of order’

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