Roadside evidential breath testing on the way

01 February 2018

Jesse Norman MP takes to the stage at the Roads Police Conference

Jesse Norman MP Parliamentary Under Secretary for the Department for Transport takes to the stage at the Roads Police Conference

The ability for officers to obtain an evidential-standard breath sample at the roadside has moved a step closer.

Speaking at our Roads Policing Conference Parliamentary Under Secretary for the Department for Transport Jesse Norman MP said that the government was encouraging companies to develop technology.

Currently officers can only take initial breath alcohol readings at the roadside; samples that meet the Home Office evidential requirements can only be gathered in a police station.

Mr Norman told delegates: “There has been a reduction in the number of breath screening test completed by the police, and a fall in the number of convictions. The government wants to make it easier for you to obtain the evidence you need to address these issues.”

He went on to state that for several years there have been efforts to secure evidential breath testing for the police but that to date most companies have been unwilling – or it has been uneconomic - for them to invest in devices which meet the very high UK standard.

He said that he hoped this new funding initiative would “incentivise” manufacturers to produce the equipment which is known as a Mobile Evidential Breath Testing Instrument (MEBTI).

The aim is that this new MEBTI will allow samples to be taken from suspected drink-drivers immediately without the need to take them to the nearest available custody suite thus eliminating the risk of a driver producing a negative evidential sample due to delays in getting them to a police station.

The money, which will come from the Department for Transport, will be passed to the Parliamentary and Transport Advisory Council on Safer transport which will then launch a competition for suppliers.

The exact amount of money has yet to be announced but the minister stated that further details would be released in the spring.