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"Drink driving is a crime. It's as simple as that", HVPD Commander Superintendent Chad Gillies is looking to change our mentality towards drink driving

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Hunter Valley Police District (HVPD) Commander Superintendent Chad Gillies is going to try and shift the mentality of drink driving in his district in a bid to curb the rate of drink driving.

He penned an emotional post on Facebook this week following the heartbreaking deaths of four children in Sydney at the weekend at the hands of a drink driver.

Superintendent Gillies told Radio Hunter Valley this week that the Upper Hunter needs to take some ownership on this.

“From a police perspective it is extremely frustrating that each holiday period, each long weekend, each operation we put out the same messaging around driver behaviour, smart decisions, drink driving, speeding, etc. and each time we detect people doing these things so from my perspective it’s very frustrating.”

“It’s probably occurred to me that we need to shift our thinking, not just on drink driving but serious traffic offences and move it into the realms of those criminal thoughts rather than just a traffic matter,” he said.

Drink driving is a crime and it should be treated as such.

“In general speaking drink driving, driving to excessive speeds, it is a crime, and the ability to seriously injure or kill is very high and the tragedy of all our tragic motor vehicle incidents, the vast majority if not all of them are down to driver error,” said Superintendent Gillies.

He said he wants to “encourage people to take some ownership on this, there are things we can do individually that can assist and intervene when friends or family members or work colleagues or anyone that you may suspect is drinking alcohol or having drugs and then wanting to get behind the wheel – there are opportunities to either intervene or call the police.”

“There is an onus on all of us, we all have a stake in the ground on this, we all use the roads so we are all potentially at risk,”

“My motivation at the moment is to get people thinking about that, and you know if you want to get behind the wheel of  a car after having a lot of alcohol or using drugs, you can cause catastrophe on roads.”

“I think when we see people going to court for traffic offences I think the commentary around it is a lot less serious than perhaps if they had been done for serious criminal offences or what we commonly think of as serious criminal offences so its about getting the mindset to move and say this is a serious matter and we need to start treating it as such.”

The HVPD is taking a similar stance as they did towards domestic violence through the “No Innocent Bystanders” campaign.

“The culture and community understanding of domestic violence being a cultural or private issue between a married couple to a serious crime. Linking the criminality to domestic violence led the way to another campaign, “NO INNOCENT BYSTANDERS’,” said Superintendent Gillies.

“It was said; we all have a role to play to call out domestic violence and speak up for those that could not defend themselves. Suddenly, the mood around domestic violence has changed forever.”

“Domestic violence and its perpetrators are viewed and treated as criminals.”

“Together we can call this our for what it is. Drink driving is a crime. Simple as that. A serious crime that can destroy lives and communities. As a community, it is our responsibility to say enough is enough. We all share the same roads and we all share the pain when innocent lives are lost.”

Image credit: Grant Broadcasters/Jessica Rouse