COPS AND WHEELS: British police forces eye up 207mph supercar

Criminals will soon be going to find it a lot harder to outrun the police in the United Kingdom as forces will be gearing up to receive the latest weapon in their crime-fighting arsenal – a police car that can reach speeds of 207 miles per hour. Police forces across the country have registered their interest in the McLaren Spider 12C, a high-powered sports car that can reach 60 miles per hour in zero to sixty seconds. Each one costs £240,000 and comes complete with the official police livery of blue and green checks.

The Vauxhall Astra is popular with various Bri...

A Bedfordshire Police Vauxhall Astra patrol car (photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Vauxhall Astra – widely used by urban police forces, this highly durable all-purpose vehicle is usually a more sober option in police motoring choices.

The two-seaters have been unveiled this weekend at a specialist car show in Birmingham . Many police commissioners and officers hope that not only will the car keep Britain’s streets crime-free but also be an instrument in breaking down barriers between police forces and the public, especially young people. The police and many youth have had a difficult relationship – based on mutual distrust and allegations of discrimination – and the car is intended to give some cool factor to the ‘boys in blue’, according to the Metro newspaper.

Police Constable Angus Nairn, who appears on the popular TV show Motorway Cops, posed next to an advanced McLaren Spider on the side of a motorway in a special picture produced for Metro by the Anglia Press Agency. On the new wheels, PC Nairn said “Everyone who sees the McLaren wants to come and talk about it.

‘The car breaks the ice and gives us the opportunity to get across the safety message – especially about the dangers of excess speed.”

The McLaren Spider 12C comes with a 3.8 litre turbo engine with 600 brake horsepower, specifications that are normally associated with steeds owned by boy racers. The car has a contemporary streamlined shape to minimise air resistance and its size makes it easier to cut through traffic in pursuit of those who break the law. As many criminals use fast sportscars to make their getaways, and such cars are increasingly highly prized by thieves, the new police car will enable police officers to quickly apprehend wrongdoers and recover stolen sports cars faster. High-speed pursuits are becoming more and more common on the UK’s motorways, many ending in crashes that are often fatal.

McLaren 12c Spider

McLaren 12c Spider (Photo credit: Nick J Webb)

A non-police version of McLaren’s Spider 12C in its natural setting.

However despite the car possibly being the fastest vehicle in police car parks, the Spider does have some drawbacks. According to PC Nairn, it has limited boot space and comes with ‘gull-wing’ doors that open upwards and outwards, meaning the car will need plenty of space when parking. It is therefore unlikely to be used as a patrol car for everyday policing work but will most likely be a fast response vehicle for traffic divisions.

British police forces currently have a wide choice of speedy motors to choose from. One, the Subaru Impreza, widely used in Gran Turismo style car races, is well received among the police due to its sheer speed on the road and its sturdiness. Recently the Midlands police force took charge of a 168 mph Lotus Evora on a temporary two-week loan. That vehicle was billed as the fastest squad car in Britain and was also the first elite sports car to be used by a UK police force.

Despite cops being receptive to using these special cars, ordinary civilians have criticised the move as a waste of taxpayers’ money, at a time when forces are shedding jobs and making cutbacks in policing budgets. Commenters on the original Metro article were scathing in their criticism. Leigh of Nottingham wrote “What a waste of money! When the criminals they are chasing have nothing to loose (sic) ! It doesn’t matter how fast the car is !”, while Michael also condemned the spend on sport cars, saying that the McLaren Spider was a  “complete waste of tax of payers money, 1 fast car or the annual salary of 9 police officers on the beat, that must of been a hard choice for them to make”. Others derided the cars as being unsafe in pursuits and dangerous if the police officer loses control of the wheel, and that the media hype around the new police vehicles was a sign that the police were engaging in a ‘publicity stunt’ which would make little difference to combatting crime.

The UK police’s spend and interest in fast and flighty super cars is small fry compared to the huge selection available to the Dubai police in the United Arab Emirates. A Dubai copper on patrol can choose from a dizzying array of finely-tuned models including a $450,000 Lamborghini Aventador, as well as garages full of Bentleys and Ferraris. They even hunt down criminals in the oil-rich state using the Dubai force’s most expensive purchase yet, a $1.4 million Aston Martin. All cars are kitted out with the local police livery of white with a large dark green racing stripe running round the vehicle’s body.

SOURCES:
“Nowhere to run: Police unveil new plan to stop crime… a £240k supercar that can do 0-60mph in three seconds” – Evan Bartlett, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (11 January 2014) LINK
“Flying squad is here: Midlands force’s latest patrol car is a 168mph Lotus” – Charlotte Gill, Mail Online/Associated Newspapers Ltd. (15 January 2011) LINK
“Dubai’s multi-million dollar fleet of police cars includes Aston Martins, Bentleys, Ferraris and Lamborghinis” – Nick Kurczewski, New York Daily News – Driver’s Dashboard/NYDailyNews.com (30 May 2013) LINK
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Posted on January 12, 2014, in National news and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Police car chases should be a thing of the past, but I guess sitting in a McLaren Spider and legally being able to jump to 60MPH in three seconds has its allure.

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    • Very true, I can imagine what it must be like to sit in the driver’s or front passenger seat and see the world zip past. It would be tricky to use this car on Britain’s highway, what with our notorious traffic. I don’t know *shrug shoulders*

      Thanks for your comment and interest in the story, John.

      Vijay

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  2. I agree with those who say it is a waste of money. You should see the junk they buy in the US, mini tanks.

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    • It does seem like that, Ron, especially as we are in so called ‘austerity times’. I’m all for funding the police to do their job properly, but they could have just bought some new Yamaha motorbikes instead. They could have quite a few for the price of the Spider maybe.
      Mini tanks…wow U.S. police certainly know how to pack the heat!. What kind of criminals they must come up against?. Yet here in London, we still have ‘bobbies on bikes’ – mountain bikes.

      Vijay

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  3. Given police chases often end in crashes, sometimes with non-participants dead, it’s hard to believe that investing in a really fast car is a good idea!

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