Police officers in the UK might soon be able to obtain an evidential-standard breath sample from suspected drink-drivers at the roadside, according to the Police Federation.

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

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

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

The new technology would allow samples to be taken from suspected drink-drivers immediately without the need to take them to the nearest available custody suite. This would eliminate the risk of a driver producing a negative evidential sample due to delays in getting them to a police station.