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Home   Medway   News   Article

Gillingham and Rainham MP Rehmam Chishti rejects idea of cash rewards for people who report drink-drivers

10 December 2013
by Alan McGuinness

Gillingham and Rainham MP Rehman Chishti

Gillingham and Rainham MP Rehman Chishti

Cash rewards for people who report drink-drivers are a bad idea, according to Gillingham and Rainham MP Rehman Chishti.

Police are offering rewards of up to £1,000 as part of their annual campaign against drink-driving at Christmas.

Asked if this was a good idea, Mr Chishti said: "Whilst it is right that members of the public should be encouraged to report incidences of drink-driving, which put road users’ lives at risk, this scheme sends the wrong message and links financial reward for reporting crime.

"We should all have a moral obligation to report crime when we see it and I know that the people of Medway will continue to do the right thing and assist the police in making our roads safer."

The scheme is being run in conjunction with Crimestoppers, which will pass anonymous tip offs to the police.

Two forces are offering the financial incentive, which covers information leading to a conviction.

In the West Midlands a reward of up to £200 is being offered, while in Derbyshire it is £1,000.

The sum will depend on the nature and seriousness of the offence.

Twenty-eight people reported drink drivers in Derbyshire when the campaign ran in 2011, but none accepted the potential reward.

File photo of a man drinking alcohol

In the House of Commons this week Mr Chishti continued to push for tougher sentences for those who get behind the wheel drunk.

He has already called for courts to be given the power to lock up motorists who cause death whilst disqualified for up to 14 years, instead of the current maximum of two years.

Mr Chishti has also said that repeat offenders who drive despite being banned should be jailed for up two years, instead of the current limit of six months.

In a debate on road safety at Westminster today, he is set to suggest fitting “alcolocks” on the vehicles of persistent offenders.

These are immobilisers which are only released when the driver provides a negative breath sample.

Mr Chishti said: "Whilst our roads may be among the safest in the world, there are still more than 195,000 reported casualties each year.

What do you think? Join the debate by adding your comments below"Every death is a tragedy and every injury a suffering which could have been prevented and more can and should be done to increase road safety and this is why I have called for this debate."

He added it was an "astonishing anomaly" that banned drivers faced short sentences.

"These are people who have already been convicted for an offence but wilfully chose to ignore the law.

"We need measures that will act as a real deterrent and stop motorists putting innocent lives at risk."

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