Ahead of the FIFA World Cup quarter-final between England and Sweden, we are urging fans to enjoy the game responsibly and not be tempted to drive after drinking alcohol.
The vast majority of fans have enjoyed England games in great spirit so far across the county, with only a handful of minor police incidents linked to the football.
With thousands of people expected to watch Saturday’s match in pubs and other licensed venues across Bedfordshire, we are urging fans not to overdo it as they cheer England on.
Superintendent Nick Lyall, who is overseeing this weekend’s police operation, said: “The public have really got behind England so far and it is great to see people enjoying themselves as the team progresses through the tournament.
“I’m sure Saturday’s game will be enjoyed in the same spirit but I would just urge people to drink responsibly, plan their journeys home and avoid getting behind the wheel if they have had alcohol.
“No one wants their day to be spoiled by spending time in a police cell and the consequences of drink driving are just not worth the risk.”
It is estimated that for each unit of alcohol consumed it takes at least an hour to enter the body and a further hour to leave it.
If you were to drink four pints of lager, for example, you should not drive for at least 13 hours from finishing your last pint.
Penalties for drink driving will mean a minimum of a 12-month disqualification, a fine of up to £5,000 and possibly six months in prison.
Causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of alcohol can result in a prison term of up to 14 years.
A drink drive conviction will also mean a criminal record, penalty points on your driving licence for 10 years, insurance costs will increase dramatically, hiring a car will become all but impossible and entry to some foreign countries denied.
Those who become aggressive or violent during or after the football could also end up being arrested and potentially get a criminal record.
Inspector Jamie Langwith, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, and Hertfordshire Roads Policing Unit, said: “It is important that anyone thinking of getting behind the wheel either following a match or the morning after drinking thinks carefully.
“This time of year always carries a greater risk of drink driving and we need to target our enforcement on this for the driver’s safety and also for the safety of others.
“Please do not take the risk of driving if you plan to drink as you will more than likely be caught and the potential consequences on both yourself and others will be severe and won’t be worth the risk.”
Plan your journey home ahead – not planning your journey home can make drink driving more tempting, so appoint a designated driver, use public transport or get a taxi.
Beware of the morning after – make sure you leave a suitable length of time before you decide to drive in the morning. Even though you may feel fine you may be still over the legal limit. If in doubt this Morning After guide could be useful.
Leave your vehicle at home – if you think you may be tempted to drive home, do not take your vehicle out in the first place.
Do not consume alcohol at all – the only safe and guaranteed way to ensure you don’t drive over the limit is not to drink at all. Different ages, weight and health affects everyone differently so one drink can make all the difference.