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Breath Tests

Volume 171: debated on Friday 4 May 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in how many annual reports of county constabularies the classification under the heading breath tests includes a category no requirement or impairment; what is the total number of such tests administered; and how this is classified in the annual tables published by his Department.

I understand that four county constabularies specify a category of "no requirement" or a category of "impairment" in the details of evidential breath tests recorded in their annual reports under breath tests. These categories cover circumstances where a person who is required to provide a specimen for analysis at a police station has been arrested either because of obvious signs of impairment or for other reasons and has not been required before arrest to take a roadside screening breath test. In the Home Office statistics of breath tests, England and Wales 1988, a copy of which was placed in the Library on 7 August 1989, it is shown in figure 1 (page 12) that, out of 126,500 drivers required to provide an evidential sample for analysis, 9,500 were arrested for impairment or for other reasons. Statistics for 1989 are not yet available.