A new Ford Mustang has been spied in New South Wales wearing the full NSW Police Highway Patrol war paint, leading to speculation that the pony car may be considered as a future pursuit car.
The single photo appeared on social media, and shows the ‘Stang in a road-ready state minus roof-mounted red and blue lights.
With the closure of local manufacturing drawing nearer, Australia’s police forces will be forced to move away from locally-built performance cars for high-speed police duties.
Endless possibilities for replacement vehicles exist from Europe, Japan, and as this Mustang photo shows, at least one model from the United States. But few, to date, present the same value-for-money equation - and the fleet pricing - that the locals have provided over the years.
Most state governments, particularly Victoria and South Australia, have heavily supported the local product, and six- and eight-cylinder Commodores, Falcons and Aurions have been getting the job done for decades, with more recent additions to the fleet including the four-cylinder Camry and Cruze (below).
In the past, the thin blue line has also turned to two-door performance models such as the Holden Monaro and Valiant Charger, and Australian Federal Police in the ACT have also used a Holden Ute.
And the more things change, the more they stay the same. With 'The Force' now looking further afield for alternatives, NSW it seems is at least considering the idea of getting officers back into two-door pursuit cars.
A long list of cars, some a little unexpected, have come and gone over the years in police uniform - like the Studebaker Lark and the original MINI Cooper S.
Image with thanks to mab01uk
Turbocharging also saw the introduction of some interesting cars: the VL Commodore Turbo ‘police special’ remains a favourite among the police who drove it in anger during its years of service.
Both NSW and Victoria Police have amassed an impressive collection of (some would say) ‘exotic’ cars over the last few years, but most are used for community events and none wear the ‘proper’ highway patrol livery.
This Mustang is, perhaps, the first model to be seen kitted with the official Highway Patrol livery and seems likely to serve as more than automotive eye-candy. Its appeal will perhaps be limited to pursuit duties, however, given the impracticalities of placing offenders in the back ("... mind your 'ead sir..").
While NSW is looking for a Commodore/Falcon/Aurion replacement, Queensland Police may not be interested in a V8 Mustang, the state having stopped engaging police in high-speed pursuits.
And just this week, police in the ACT have announced that new rules beginning next month will see high-speed pursuits on ACT roads limited only to incidents involving a severe risk to public safety, serious injury or death.
The introduction of “Skye’s Law” in NSW in 2010, designed to punish offenders who fail to stop when instructed by police, has left the door open for NSW Police to also abandon high-speed pursuits.
The death of a 24-year-old pregnant woman in Hobart last month following an incident with a stolen car travelling at high speed (where doctors were able to save her baby) has sparked a petition for Skye’s Law to be introduced in Tasmania.
So if high-speed pursuits are becoming a thing of the past, will the thin blue line need performance cars in their fleets after 2017? And what do we think would be suitable alternatives to the current crop of Falcons, Commodores and Aurions?
Let us know in the comments below.