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Breath tests at road traffic incidents (FOI)

Breath tests at road traffic incidents (FOI)

Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 12 March 2021.
Prepared internally, no external costs.


How many drivers were breath tested in 2019 and 2020 (if possible, by week)?

What is the SOJP policy on breath testing at a road traffic incident - what discretion, if any, do attending officers have to not breath test?

Have there ever been any written guidance to not breath test in 2019 and 2020?


Information not held:

The States of Jersey police do not keep records of how many roadside breath tests are carried out. Information on how many drivers are subjected to provide two specimens on the substantive machine at Police HQ, following arrest can be determined by examining custody records individually.

Breath tests at Police HQ

The Road Traffic (Jersey) law 1956 states under: Article 29(2) that an officer, may require a breath test following an accident.

Article 29 Breath tests

(2) If an accident occurs owing to the presence of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place a police officer may, subject to Article 32, require any person who the police

officer has reasonable cause to believe was driving or attempting to drive or in charge of the vehicle at the time of the accident to provide a specimen of breath for a breath test.

The States of Jersey police current policy is that all drivers should be subjected to a breath test following an accident however, every police officer is individually appointed by the crown and may use their discretion if the circumstances dictate. Every officer is responsible for their own actions and must be able to justify going against force policy.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a decision was made by the senior management team (Silver group, operation TALLA) on 25 March 2020, to suspend the policy requirement to subject every driver involved in an RTC to a roadside breath test. This was seen as a necessary precaution to safeguard officers. Officers could still arrest if alcohol use was suspected and then revert to the use of the substantive machine at Police HQ.

The decision was rescinded after national police guidance on 2 July 2020 but reinstated again on 3 December 2020. The policy returned once more on 7 January 2021. All decisions are recorded.

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