Midlands News: 25.02.1969: New type of police motorway patrol car developed


 

New type of police motorway patrol car developed by Staffordshire police force

Click the Image to View the Clip

Today’s Clip of the Day is of Staffordshire Police’s MK2 Jaguar.

We’re keen to find more information about this car. If you can tell us more, please comment below:

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One thought on “Midlands News: 25.02.1969: New type of police motorway patrol car developed

  1. I am the owner of the car I think you are referring to on our website.

    The car I own is one of a series of six that Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Constabulary owned. Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Constabulary came about as a result of an amalgamation of the two separate forces (Staffordshire County and Stoke-on-Trent Constabularies) a year earlier as part of a number of amalgamations throughout the country – and resulted in Staffordshire Police being formed in 1974 when other rationalisation of local government took place.

    The motorway network in the UK started with the Preston By-Pass being opened in late 1958; built to motorway standard, it did not, however, form part of the M6 proper until several years later when the rest of the M6 was built – at which time Staffordshire Constabulary became responsible for policing their stretch of the M6. The first Motorway proper, then, was the M1 which opened in 1959. Until that time, most police cars in Britain were a dark colour, usually black, but occasionally dark blue or even dark green in some forces – often depending on the whim of the Chief Constable.

    With the advent of the motorway network, most motorway patrol cars were bought white, but experiments soon took place with making the cars stand out – some in Lancashire had their sides painted a day-glow orange. Experiments also took place in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s with the panda scheme – in either blue/white or in some cases, black/white, similar to those in the US.

    Many forces used Mk 2 Jaguars as patrol cars – they were British made, fast and nimble – ideal attributes for the new motorway network – excepting a poor load carrying capacity, they were well up to the job!

    The motorway network at the time was not subject to a speed limit – de-restricted meant just that – no restrictions on speed! With the first motorways having just a strip of grass separating the two opposing lanes, and a great deal of fog also affecting them, there were many crashes – some quite tragic. In February 1967, a Staffordshire County police officer, PC Clive Blackburn, was killed when getting out of his patrol car to attend the scene of an earlier breakdown. The patrol car he is believed to have been driving was a C-registered Mk 2 patrol car – liveried like most others in the country with a small POLICE sign on the roof and a single blue lamp.

    Following this, Staffordshire Constabulary (later Staffs and Stoke-on-Trent Constabulary), as part of the routine replacement of the C-registered cars, introduced the six new cars with the boot coloured red, a new red on white background POLICE sign at the rear and a large, full width roof sign with large illuminating sign and rear reflectors high up on the sign which was itself coloured red at the rear. Couple this with a new style of blue flashing lamp and the car was thought to be about as visible as you could get. In truth, the livery can be thought of as the forerunner of today’s rear chevrons on emergency vehicles. Staffordshire continued with this livery for many years. These G-registered cars were regarded as pioneering – hence the film, I guess.

    I now own TRF 319G – the only remaining of the six cars so liveried. I bought it late last year knowing some of its history and being determined that it should be restored to its former glory. There are a number of pictures of some aspects of the vehicles – but it is useful to see the footage you have on your website. I have been in contact with a small number of former drivers whose memories are invaluable.

    There are, of course, a number of things that are difficult to get information on so far from the time, but I take comfort in the fact that, as pioneering vehicles, there are some photographs. There are a number of members of Police Car UK that resort to restoring cars with next to no information at all, so I am quite lucky!

    Some of the things I am looking for information on are the interior – it is almost certain that the rear seats were removed to accommodate cones and lamps for closing lanes after incidents – but little detail is know about whether the seats were replaced with a wooden rack to hold the cones in place; the wording on the signs – it is believed that the small sign on the rear parcel-shelf is an illuminating STOP sign – to encourage a driver the patrol car was overtaking to pull over, and the rear sign on the roof should be “ACCIDENT” – but no evidence exists to prove it; neither is there evidence of where the radio was housed in the car or how the boot-mounted kit rack for storing the POLICE SLOW and ACCIDENT signs was designed or fitted.

    A lot of former drivers are very interested in the project to restore the car. I am intending to do the car justice – and it is not in good condition. So it is likely to be 12 or so months before she is ready to show on the circuit. Hopefully, that will include trips back to Staffordshire to reacquaint drivers with the car.

    Stuart Exelby
    Abingdon

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