Volvo XC60 joins NSW Police highway patrol ranks.
Sydney 'Daily Telegraph' March 3, 2017.
NSW Police are adding high-powered Volvo SUVs and heavy duty Toyota LandCruiser 4WDs to the highway patrol fleet to target rural areas after a 50 per cent spike in deaths on country roads over the past two years.
The 14 vehicles — seven Volvos and seven LandCruisers — are not replacements for the Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore pursuit cars that will be phased out after local manufacturing shutdowns, they are additional vehicles to be deployed on remote roads.
But high-speed crooks and dodgy drivers need not breathe a sigh of relief — the Volvo XC60 police are getting is no ordinary car.
The most potent model in the XC60 line-up has a turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder engine that delivers power to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The Volvo XC60 (centre) is not a replacement for the Commodore (left) and Falcon (right) pursuit cars. The additional vehicles will target country roads. Picture: Joshua Dowling The first Volvo is due to be unveiled with the launch of “Operation Westforce” in the NSW central-west city of Dubbo today.
Acting Commander of the Traffic & Highway Patrol Command, Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy said the new vehicles were chosen to access areas where a sedan may have difficulties.
“During Operation Westforce, there will be more than double the number of cars on patrol,” said Assistant Commissioner Corboy.
“Police will be targeting areas where there has been an increase in fatal and serious injury crashes in order to drive down the road toll.”
Figures show 64 lives were lost last year in the NSW Western Region, compared with 40 in 2014.
The Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Troy Grant, said police will be “out in force to catch anyone putting lives at risk behind the wheel”.
“The NSW government has a strong track record of providing our Police Force with the state-of-the-art equipment it needs to keep the community safe, and these new highway patrol vehicles will complement our efforts to reduce the tragic road trauma statistics across regional NSW,” said Minster Grant.
The Volvo XC60 highway patrol cars will have the latest police technology. Picture: Joshua Dowling.
The Volvo XC60 has slightly slower acceleration than the current Falcon and Commodore pursuit cars — and has a lower top speed of 210kmh — but it is the most advanced vehicle used by NSW highway patrol to date, and will be loaded with the latest police technology.
All cars will be equipped with automatic numberplate recognition cameras, car-mounted radar, handheld radar, drug and alcohol test kits, road spikes, forward and rearward facing in-car videos, and a tablet-style touchscreen that means speeders won’t necessarily get a ticket on the spot, but rather in the mail.
Some cars will also be equipped with cameras that beam live video of critical incidents back to the police operations centre.
The technology fitted to each highway patrol vehicle is estimated to be more than the cost of the car.
Seven Volvos will be joined by seven Toyota LandCruisers for the rural roads safety campaign. Picture: Joshua Dowling.
The RRP for the high-powered version of the Volvo is close to $70,000 — about $20,000 more than the Holden and Ford pursuit sedans — however News Corp Australia understands Volvo supplied them at a heavily discounted price because it was desperate to win the business in an attempt to change its image.
NSW Police are still in the process of evaluating a new generation highway patrol cars to replace the Falcon and Commodore pursuit cars.
Ford stopped building the Falcon last year and the Commodore V8 reaches the end of the Holden production line this October.
Most states are yet to lock in their highway patrol replacement vehicles, although Queensland police recently took delivery of the first of 200 turbocharged Hyundai sedans.
With four photos. Just three here: the other was a repeat.
Mustang back off the police radar after two-star ANCAP, 27 January 2017.
The Mustang is now ineligible for police use under government procurement rules .
Updated ANCAP rules rule Mustang out for police duties as Ford’s hero scores just two stars in shock result.
The likelihood of the Ford Mustang ever becoming a front line police vehicle has taken a massive blow, with the two-door coupe now ineligible for selection under government procurement rules.
The Mustang has fallen foul of new regulations that tie in more closely with European New Car Assessment Program (Euro NCAP) standards, and its two-star score has sent shockwaves across the industry.
The same standards have already been applied to cars like the Holden Astra, Kia Optima and Volkswagen Tiguan.
Internal government documents at both state and federal level show that any vehicle procured for use by a government agency must be rated at the maximum of five stars by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).
However, there are examples of vehicles in use that don't adhere to published standards for NSW government vehicles. As an example of the complexity of procuring vehicles, a police command in the Sydney suburb of Campsie recently took delivery of a donated LDV G10 people mover for community service duties. While the G10 is yet to be tested, its commercial equivalent, the V80, only scored two stars.
Tested in Europe against Euro NCAP’s four-scenario system, the Mustang recorded record low scores for rear passenger safety. Its front airbags also failed to deploy properly, and a door popped open during a side impact test.
The current car also lacks the so-called safety assist features required by ANCAP to achieve a good score, like auto emergency braking, lane departure control and a speed limiter. It scored just two points from a maximum of 12.
It fared better in front passenger and pedestrian protection, scoring four and fives stars respectively in those categories. However, the final score is taken from the lowest figure recorded in the test.
A mustang in Police livery at Bathurst.
Locally, Ford is set to introduce items including AEB and lane-keep assist to the MY18 Mustang as soon as next month, but more esoteric items like rear seatbelt warning lights and chimes also figure in the ruling, and will take longer to engineer into the car. They are not fitted to the US version of the car, which the Aussie Mustang is based on.
The Mustang has been part of the NSW Police Force’s assessment fleet for nearly twelve months, with a liveried and fully equipped prototype appearing at various community events including last year’s Bathurst 1000 Supercars race.
CarsGuide snapped the two-door coupe undergoing testing at Sydney Motorsport Park last year, as the company tried to solve a transmission overheating issue that had prevented the Mustang from completing assessment tests at the police force’s Goulburn test centre.
The Mustang may not be the only vehicle to fall foul of ever-toughening crash regulations, as ANCAP and Euro NCAP forge even closer ties from 2018. ANCAP’s Sydney crash lab, for example, is booked out for this year as manufacturers rush to beat a deadline which could see cars fall from five-star to four or even three-star cars.
Does the shock score for the Ford Mustang change your thinking about safety testing? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
There have been many developments since then. There are seven photos at the link, but I am reposting only one.
24 January 2016 What does the future hold for highway patrol cars?
Police hit speed bump to replace Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon highway patrol cars .
High-speed crooks may soon be harder to catch once Holden and Ford stop local production of police pursuit cars.
Highway patrol forces across Australia have used Holden Commodores and Ford Falcons for more than three decades to nab speeding drivers and criminals trying to outrun the law.
But the cars that will replace the Falcon and Commodore pursuit vehicles over the next two years will be slower and more expensive than the current models.
The switch to imported cars has police across the country scrambling to find suitable replacements for highway patrol vehicles.
They might look like family cars, but the latest generation pursuit vehicles used by NSW Police are the most capable ever put into service.
It's not only their blistering acceleration that has helped stop pursuits before they start because, according to police, the bad guys know they can't get away.
More importantly, say frontline officers, it's the stopping power that gives them the edge.
Both Ford and Holden pursuit cars used by the NSW highway patrol have been fitted with police-only high-performance brakes ever since a series of brake failures led to a stringent test being introduced at the Police Driver Training centre in Goulburn more than 10 years ago.
“The crooks realise their brakes run out before ours do”
Other Australian states and territories do not have the same "pursuit test" braking requirement, leaving some officers concerned about a return to "the bad old days".
"Before we had bigger brakes fitted to our cars, they would turn to mush after a few hard stops, the brake pads would eventually disintegrate," said one high-ranking officer with 20 years' experience.
"Ever since we had the better brakes fitted, it has enabled us to slow down through intersections more safely and more reliably ... and then accelerate again to catch up to the bad guys. It's a public safety issue as well as an officer-safety issue," he said.
Other officers who spoke to News Corp Australia said there have been fewer pursuits since "the crooks realise their brakes run out before ours do."
An officer with 12 years' highway patrol experience said vehicle performance was "not just about catching getaway cars".
"Highway patrol are often the first cars at the scene of armed hold-ups, violent domestics, serious injury crashes and other life-threatening situations," the officer said. "The general duties cars are often tied up, whereas we're always roaming. If I've got to save someone from being stabbed, you want to get there as quickly and as safely as possible."
The highway patrol certification test used exclusively by NSW Police involves the car accelerating and braking repeatedly for an extended period of time to simulate a pursuit or a response to an emergency.
Both Ford and Holden had to upgrade their brakes on NSW highway patrol cars once the test was introduced.
Cars that don't make the grade are not commissioned for highway patrol use. For example, the Toyota Aurion V6 did not pass NSW Police brake tests even though the car is used by highway patrol in other states.
“We have very specific technical requirements”
A national police advisory agency closed submissions for future vehicle replacements last week, with luxury brands dominating the list of tenders, including Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo.
However, these vehicles are likely to be deemed too expensive.
This leaves limited options, including performance cars such as the Ford Mustang coupe, Volkswagen Golf R hatch or wagon or the Chrysler 300 SRT performance sedan, all of which are in the $50,000 to $60,000 price range.
The current Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore pursuit cars cost about $48,000 -- before significant government discounts are taken into account.
NSW Police said it would start to evaluate new vehicles later this year.
"As far as a national vehicle is concerned, that is clearly a longer term ambition (but) there is a layer of complexity around that," the statement said. "We have very specific technical requirements."
NSW Police cars are more advanced than those in other states, with all 400 cars equipped with in-car video, computer terminals, and automatic number plate reading technology.
Other states have just begun rolling out number plate detection cameras on a handful of cars, whereas NSW has started equipping general duties cars with the technology.
Meanwhile, substitutes for future general duties vehicles are expected to be a formality, because police are already driving them.
The Toyota Camry has begun replacing the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon general duties sedans, while the Hyundai SantaFe has started replacing the Ford Territory SUV.
The Hyundai iLoad and Volkswagen Transporter vans have been replacing utes as prisoner vehicles for several years.
What highway patrol drive now
Holden Commodore SS V8
0 to 100km/h: 5.0 seconds
High performance brakes (the same used by US police) Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo
0 to 100km/h: 5.0 seconds
High performance brakes (race-bred, made by Brembo) The options Ford Mustang V8
0 to 100km/h: 5.0 seconds
Pros and cons: High performance brakes (race-bred, made by Brembo), similar acceleration to current cars. Coupe body not as practical as a sedan but could be used for certain areas (police have used coupes before, including the Valiant Charger, Ford Falcon XB and XC Coupe and Holden Monaro). The Mustang needs a special bracket to store a full size spare tyre (a police safety requirement) because an inflator kit is standard. Fortunately the boot is bigger than before and police computer equipment is getting smaller.
Chrysler 300 SRT V8
0 to 100km/h: 5.0 seconds
Pros and cons: High performance brakes (race-bred, made by Brembo), similar acceleration to current cars and it has a big boot that can fit a full size spare (a police safety requirement). The Chrysler 300 SRT V8 doesn't handle corners as sharply as the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon performance sedans. Question mark over reliability, and it has higher service costs. Dealer network not as vast as Holden or Ford.
Volkswagen Golf R
0 to 100km/h: 5.0 seconds
Pros and cons: High performance brakes, similar acceleration to current cars and it has constant all-wheel-drive grip, which is ideal for tight city streets and wet or icy roads. The Golf R is available as a wagon to fit extra gear, but a full size spare would need to be accommodated (inflator kit or space saver is standard). The cheaper Golf GTI is not as suitable because it's slower, front-wheel-drive only and does not get performance brakes as standard.
Holden Insignia VXR
0 to 100km/h: 6.8 seconds
Pros and cons: The Holden Insignia VXR is a pointer to the all-wheel-drive turbo sedan that will replace the Commodore SS in 2018. But it needs to make a big leap over the current car which, according to independent tests, is slower than a Toyota Aurion V6. Holden insiders have confirmed the next generation Commodore performance sedan will not be as quick as the current V8, nor as cheap.
Ford Mondeo Turbo
Price: Not yet announced
0 to 100km/h: Not yet announced
Pros and cons: Ford of Europe is secretly working on a turbo all-wheel-drive version of the Mondeo mid-size sedan, but its performance credentials are an unknown. The car is also smaller and narrower than a Ford Falcon, and as with its Holden counterpart, unlikely to match today's fast Falcon, let alone beat it.
> with photos of each type.
160124 Melbourne Herald Sun - police cars, current Commodore.
Just on the number of vehicles which don't pass muster for too few stars in the NCAP system for things like no rear seat belt warning lights, how the hell do motor bikes get by?
If bikes were invented now, there is no way they would even be allowed anywhere near a public road. I guess we are lucky they were here before cars.
Yes, I have been riding bikes for over 50 years and still enjoy getting out and about on my trusty old Honda Bol'dor 900.
There were a few blokes advocating the army go back to 1960's vehicles who haven't chimed in saying the police only need a few high speed vehicles for Highway Patrol. The vast majority of police work in the cities could be accomplished perfectly well in a base model P -plater's Toyota Corolla. A standard Corolla will do 170kph what more do you need? The UK and European police do much of their work in little buzz-bombs at a fraction of the cost of the hot-rods.
In Queensland pursuits are forbidden so the cops may as well ride bicycles.
The local cops had blue 105E Anglia's where I grew up in Melbourne. The whole street came out to watch on one occasion when a cop Studebaker was chasing a hoon across the local footy oval, siren blaring it was very exciting for a kid .