Friday, 28 February 2014

Time the police took a lower profile

 I was in `the smoke` last weekend, paying a visit to Ronnie Scott's. As we made our way back to our hotel through the night people of Soho, a Met police car stopped outside a restaurant to sort out a dispute. They were in a bloody Hyundai hatchback, all coloured up like a Haribo chewy sweet. I was dumbstruck. Still, I suppose if your going to dent something, it might as well be cheap.
I am old enough to have gone on patrol in the last of the 3.8 S-type Jags in the Met Police, circa 1970. Two versions: mean jet black for your standard `area car` and lily white for traffic division. No fancy day-glow striping, no logo's, no puke-inducing corporate mantra-message stencilled on the side, just a single blue light and a small `po-leece` sign on the rear, no-see-us-coming-till too late....oh take me back to reminiscence central...

 One fun-filled memory of an early outing in a well worn Jag 3.8S springs to mind. 
On an emergency call in Lewisham, south London, to a fatal RTA. Shifting from 2nd to 3rd passing through 60+mph and climbing, the driver suddenly handed me the gear lever that had come out of its housing and said, "Find me 4th will you"?
 Cool guys those Class 1 advanced, Hendon trained, drivers.


Trobairitz said...

Find me fourth - that just made me laugh out loud.

The police in these parts use Ford Crown Victorias, but are transitioning to new Ford Mustangs and Chevy Camaros. They also use ultra low light bars on the roof and hidden lights in the grill. Trust me - you can't always see them coming. Especially when painted grey.

At least we know why the budget is always blown with all the new cars they use.

Hogdayafternoon said...

I always thought the local cops in the US were a bit "revenue collection" in their traffic enforcement;)

BillB said...

What's the world coming to when the London police are driving Hyundais.

The CHP here - which pioneered the Crown Vic that was later used Nationally, are using these strange things now

Among US enthusiasts the Hyundai is referred as an "appliance car" - minimal care required, goes & goes (what a change from their 80s introduction), if a bit insipid as to driving enjoyment.

The Jag had character.

Anonymous said...

The Jag was before my time but what about the Triumph 2.5PI and the Rover 3.5? The Triumph was used in Central London and the Rover in the 'burbs. Lets just say fuel economy in the Rover was more gallons per mile than miles per gallon. Mind you the Met had some real clunkers as well - the mighty Allegro with the square steering wheel as well as a Sunbeam Talbot. Nothing was quite as awful as the Austin Montego however.

Hogdayafternoon said...

BillB, its coming to an end!

Ret'd, I was at AD when we got our first Austin "All-Aggro" - bring back the Morry Thousand :O
The Montego replaced the Hillman Hunter GP cars. When BMC produced a dog, it was usually a howler. Mind you, when I got to my county force and saw a Morris Marina TC as the area car, I nearly came back.

Quartermaster said...

Hog, don't know where you got the impression that US cops are a bit "revenue collection." IN some areas it seems that's their primary purpose when it comes to traffic "enforcement." I get ticked when the cops routinely speed for no reason then turn around and write us "civilians" tickets for the very thing they do routinely.

Police over here are both loved and hated cordially. Hypocrisy, however, is hated anywhere one could travel in this veil of tears.

MTG said...

On condition the sleek design was free of 'roof accessories' which must still turn Sir William in his grave, a 3.8S parked on a UK drive served as an iconic middle class statement throughout the sixties.

Hogdayafternoon said...

mtg: Whereas a 3.8S Jag with a blue light, parked outside a house was a sign that under those circumstances, the occupants of said abode were subject to the law, regardless of what or who they thought they were (unless or until they appeared before the courts).

MTG said...

Indeed, Hogday.
Otherwise good reputations were permanently sullied by the mere parking of such vehicles outside any house.

Earlier introduction of the internet and wider broadcasting of endemic corruption among occupants of said vehicles might have evoked a contrasting reaction.

Hogdayafternoon said...

Corruption. Its everywhere.

JuliaM said...

One of the pleasures of catching old TV dramas on the satellite 'nostalgia' channels is the 'old style' policing.

Cars, was all so much better in those days.

Blue Eyes said...

The new car motifs are awful. Hogan-Howe's (only) Legacy. He thinks it's modern and clever to fall in line with "the counties" because he's a northerner and things are much better up north. Or something.

Actually the crummy cars are not the only legacy. Have you seen the public order baseball caps? Navy Blue for normal Level 2 plod, Baby Blue for the TSG. They look really cool. No, really. OK, not really. Someone at the football said "chavvy".

It's so much easier to fiddle with trivia such as saving a couple of quid on vehicle procurement than it is to deal with the real problems like Plebgate and Stephen Lawrence and the rest.

Hogdayafternoon said...

JuliaM/Blue: I really get the feeling that the procurement people go to a clothing supplier and say, "We'll take anything, just as long as it makes them look like a sack o' sh1t"