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 by chasing after pioneer speeding motorists on bicycles. As speed restrictions eased in the early twentieth century and car ownership increased, the police embraced the car. Criminals were stealing cars 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.
Since then the car has become essential to everyday life. Deep down everyone loves a police car. Countless enthusiasts collect models in different liveries and legendary police cars become part of the nation’s shared consciousness.
Ant Anstead spent the first six years of his working life as a cop. He was part of the armed response team, one of the force’s most elite units. In this fascinating new history of the British police car, Ant looks at the classic cars, from the Met’s Wolseleys to the Senator, the motorway patrol car officers loved most, via unusual and unexpected police vehicles such as the Arial Atom. It’s a must-read for car enthusiasts, social historians and anyone who loves a good car chase, Cops and Robbers is a rip-roaring celebration of the police car and the men and women who drive them.