TV presenter and all-round car nut Ant Anstead takes the reader on a journey that mirrors the development of the motor car itself from a stuttering 20mph annoyance that scared everyone's horses to 150mph pursuits with aerial support and sophisticated electronic tracking. The British Police Force's relationship with the car started with the chasing of pioneer speeding motorists, who were often caught by policemen on bicycles. However, as speed restrictions eased in the early twentieth century and car ownership increased the Police embraced the car.
Crime was becoming intrinsically linked to the car, criminals were stealing them to sell on or to use as getaway vehicles and the Police needed to stay ahead, or at least only one step behind. The arms race for speed, which culminated in the Police acquiring high-speed pursuit vehicles such as Subaru Impreza Turbos, had begun. Ant Anstead spent the first seven years of his working life as a cop.
Growing up watching The Professionals and other TV programmes initially fired his enthusiasm, partly because of the cars; who doesn't love a handbrake-turning Capri. However, Ant was a serious copper who succeeded in the force and joined the armed response team, one of the force's most elite units. Ant never lost his love of cars though, especially police cars.
In this fascinating new history of the British Police Car, Ant looks at the classic Police Cars, from the Met's Wolseleys to the motorway patrol car officers most loved, the Senator, via unusual unexpected police vehicles such as an Arial Atom. It's a must read for car enthusiasts, social historians and anyone who just loves a good car chase.