Top five UK police cars past and present
Tongues were wagging back in July when, at the National Association of Police Fleet Motorists, a Ford Mustang was revealed in police livery. In fact that whole show was filled with motors that would leave us in awe – the BMW i8, Jaguar F-Pace and Chevrolet Camaro to name a few - all bedecked in the familiar luminous yellow and blue check.
While you may not want to see them in your rear-view mirror any time soon, here are five police cars from the past and five police cars from the present that may leave you in silent admiration were they to pass you on the road:
Though they’re not all in use on the roads (yet), these liveried supercars play a vital role in engaging with the public and raising vital awareness around issues such as speeding and dangerous driving.
Subtle, but with the performance when it is needed, the Jaguar XF is a prestige motor that is king of the road for the police.
Launched in 2010 and used to patrol motorways across Staffordshire and the Midlands, the seven 271bhp 3.0-litre Diesel S models have a top speed of 155mph and a 0-62mph time of 6.4 secs, meaning it’s quick enough to outrun any criminal daft enough to try and escape its clutches.
Intimidation factor is the name of the game here. Debuted at the National Association of Police Fleet Managers trade fair earlier this year, a subtle black model was being trialled by police for high-speed pursuits with a view to adding a fleet of V8 Mustang’s to their garage in the near future.
By way of presentation, one Mustang was decked in the familiar checked livery with roof-mounted lights and it looked a lot more subtle than you’d expect. What’s more, the 410hp V8 Mustang offers plenty of performance for a patrol car and wouldn’t be a strain on budgets.
With its unveiling at the Autosport International in 2015, crims cried and police applauded at the sight of this beast.
The Caparo T1 can go from 0-60 in a measly 2.5secs meaning that if a getaway driver can somehow battle through motorway congestion they’ll still get caught in no time. Or they would if it was on the road - the T1 was donated to draw people in and give the police an opportunity to meet and engage with car enthusiasts to get them to understand the enforcement of road safety laws.
Humberside police came under fire in 2009 when it was revealed they spent £81,000 on one patrol car, but can you blame them? Look at it!
Acting as the 'command car' for the force's Vehicle Crime Unit, the top-of-the-range sports car can do 0-62mph in just 4.8 secs thanks to its mighty 416hp five-litre engine.
Patrolling the Yorkshire area, it's certainly a traffic policeman's dream and a dangerous driver’s nightmare.
Lotus Evora S
If there’s one thing you can take away from this listicle, it’s that Midlands police love a good supercar.
In 2011 they added the Lotus Evora to their fleet to patrol major routes including the M5, M42 and the M6 toll road as well as engage with the public and reinforce road safety awareness.
Powered by a 280bhp 3.5 litre V6 engine, the car can go 0-60mph in just under five seconds and is a particularly eye-catching vehicle for the traffic unit to use.
The UK police force has had a long and illustrious history of cars at their disposal, and it would be remiss of us not to take a stroll down memory lane. Here are some of our favourite iconic models that were a regular fixture on UK motorways once upon a time:
Around 1961, the Lancashire County Constabulary used a MGB Roadster to patrol the (often deserted) M6. Looking at the picture I’m not sure if I’m more jealous of the empty motorway or the classic convertible.*
The MK2 Jaguar proved popular with a lot of police forces around the UK in the mid-60s, with Gloucestershire, Kent and Staffordshire police all opting for the 220hp classic as a fast response car for issues on the growing, speed-limit-less motorways.
Popularised by The Professionals, there were a number of forces which used the Ford Capri over the years. However, it was only Greater Manchester Police who operated our fave - the 2.8i MK3 model.
Rover 3500 V8
Many will argue that the Rover 3500 V8 was one of the best patrol cars of all time, and who are we to argue? Known affectionately as ‘the jam sandwich’, the Rover was the motorway patrol car of choice for the vast majority of UK police forces in the 70s thanks to the famed V8 engine and its ability to do 125mph.
Ford Sierra Sapphire Cosworth
Are the 90s retro now? Either way, the Sierra Sapphire Cosworth will always have a place in our hearts thanks to its unique look and unparalleled performance. The police obviously agreed too, with several forces opting to use the vehicle including Bedfordshire, Sussex, Greater Manchester, Nottinghamshire, Northumbria and Cumbria.
*With thanks to PoliceCarUK.com for the image