POLICE have revealed a key weapon in the battle against driving offences in North Ayrshire.

A report to North Ayrshire Council's police and fire and rescue committee says regular patrols by police in unmarked vehicles are having a significant effect on detection rates.

The report reveals that offences for speeding and driving under the influence of drink or drugs are all on the rise - but says that "increased pro-activity" to "ensure road users are driving appropriately and safely" has played a large part in the increases.

The same report, covering the nine months from April 1 to December 31, 2023, reveals there were four fatal accidents across North Ayrshire during the period - compared with five during the same nine months in 2022.

The number of serious injuries in road accidents in the area also dropped from 36 to 31 year-on-year, with the 2023 figures including four children.

Police say that they have a "strong focus" in targeting road users who choose to drive at excessive speed and under the influence of drink or drugs, and that alongside officers from the Ayrshire road policing unit they are working to target known problem areas.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "There has been a marked increase in speeding offences compared to the same period last year.

"Speeding is recognised within North Ayrshire as a priority and is a causative factor in 80 percent of all fatal and serious road traffic collisions.

"This increase is a testament to North Ayrshire Police's commitment towards reducing the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads.

"Locations such as the A78, A760, A736 and A737 feature on Ayrshire road policing’s daily patrols."


Largs and Millport Weekly News: Cllr Tom MarshallCllr Tom Marshall (Image: North Ayrshire Conservatives)

Specific incidents mentioned in the report include a 37-year-old woman who failed a roadside breath test during the morning rush hour in November, and a 32-year-old driver who failed a roadside test for cannabis on the A78.

The latter incident saw cannabis with an estimated street value of £1,500 recovered from the vehicle.

A further incident in November saw a Volkswagen Golf fail to pull over for police officers; when the vehicle was eventually stopped, the 28-year-old behind the wheel was found to be serving a driving ban.

Councillor Tom Marshall said: "This has also featured nationally that there are more people now taking drugs and driving at the same time.

"There needs to be more education to explain the risks and dangers as reactions whilst driving are inhibited, and it is a major risk to other drivers."