Which country has the best police cars?
We think these are the best police cars around the globe; do you agree?
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Which country has the best police cars? We scoured 235 countries and dependent territories to see who has the best-looking police cars.
Best UK police car: Ford Ranger Raptor
In the UK, cop cars have a bright yellow and blue chequered square pattern on them, which is modelled after the Battenberg cake. Perhaps the best example of the UK's police Battenberg concept is this Ford Ranger Raptor. The crims won't be losing the police by taking a shortcut through a muddy field! We can just imagine their face as this beast roars down on them! This one was modified for South Wales Police, by Ford UK's Special Vehicle Preparation team.
This police ute takes the Battenberg livery further, with menacing matte black panels on the bonnet that also presumably help cut down glare for the response driver. With a factory-limited top speed of 170km/h, and those rally-style Fox shocks, this is not only a cool-looking police vehicle – it's also an off-road monster!
Best police car for: Off-road chases and catching a farm thief
Picking the best-looking US police car was tough. The nation has some of the most varied police liveries we've seen.
There's Connecticut State Police, who literally use plain silver sedans. No stickers, no police markings. Just a solid paint job. Sneaky, although the massive police bull bars do make them stand out just a bit.
Minnesota State Patrol use maroon-coloured cars, which is not a tone we'd naturally associate with the police. Some US townships also have red police cars.
Ford North America has a pretty rad generic police livery (they even have a police vehicle webpage) that's simple, clean and effective. There's something about the all-black bodywork and the particular font they use that looks highly purposeful. Random thought, but is there a cooler word than Interceptor?
Special mention has to go to Linwood Police, with this awesome black and yellow design.
However, our choice isn't the Hollywood favourite, the LAPD's black and white scheme (the 2-tone palette is adopted widely across the US), or the equally famous NYPD, no it's the Michigan State Police. These law enforcers have a simple royal blue paint scheme (that's available from car manufacturers as an option for the Michigan police), a tasteful logo on the side and the most prominent emergency light (Michigans refer to it as the gumball or bubble light) we've ever seen.
It's like every police car in the state is wearing a light-up fez. Apparently, they are the only agency to use this design in America and it is reported that the design has acceleration and fuel-efficiency advantages. Add to that those chrome domes on the wheels and the light-up bonnet sign that tells drivers to pull over and this has to be one of the best-looking police cars worldwide.
Best police car for: General duties, high-speed ramming
Sadly, this isn't an actual police vehicle that's in use. It was built by a German tuning company to prove the point that tuning can be done safely.
If we saw this modified performance BMW M850i rolling up behind us, we'd pull over. If we had any illegal intentions, we'd just give up. The car has 462kW, carbon fibre aerodynamic components and Nürburgring-tested suspension. It's wearing the stickers of the Autobahnpolizei (highway police), which is a high visibility livery designed to help the police stand out on the autobahn – some lengths of which have only advisory (or recommended) speed limits. With drivers potentially going over 240km/h, being highly visible is a matter of life and death.
Best police car for: Going fast and standing out
Norway (our pick for best police car)
In Northern Europe, the Norwegian Police Service has a cool livery design. Their vehicles look more like race cars on the road, with an unusual yellow, white and black colour scheme. The design helps them stand out, even in thick snow. The side strips sort of resemble a shark's gills and look menacing. Good job, Norway!
Best police car for: Standing out in snow, Volvo levels of reliability
As you'd expect, Italy has some classy and highly stylish police vehicles.
The Carabinieri have a simple navy blue colour scheme, sometimes combined with flashy red stripes. Add to that a contrasting white roof featuring minimal graphics and you've got a debonair police car. It's incredibly fetching, especially when worn on an Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio. It's a car we'd drive every day... if we could. Can we sign up with the Italian Police?
Best police car for: Looking authoritative
Then again, the Polizia Stradale, in charge of Italy-wide highway patrol, also have an awesome design. This police division gets high-performance cars, painted in a light blue (called Azzuro Polizia – or Police Blue). Contrasting the blue is white flanks and sometimes roofs.
Best police car for: Transporting organs, with tight deadlines
These cars really pop in the warm Italian sunshine!
Best police car for: Appearing approachable to tourists
The Carabineros de Chile (which translate to Police from Chile) made it onto our list because their cop cars evoke memories of the green and white German police cars you'd see in classic films. Sadly, Germany has since opted for a more unified Euro-look, but Chile still rocks the green and white and it looks superb, especially on a Dodge Charger. Also, as a bonus, the light beacons are green.
Best police car for: Nostalgia
The South African Police Service have a memorable and pared-down livery which also has a kind of retro feel to it.
It consists of a white car body, with a blue and yellow triple stripe that runs the length of the vehicle. The yellow seems ultra fluorescent and the white cars no doubt stand out in the hot African sun. Plus, they apply it to epic vehicles like the VW Golf GTI hot hatch.
Best police car for: Handling
This fearsome armoured vehicle is called the WP 1800 Nyala.
Best police car for: Looking imposing
In Ukraine, the police drive around wearing a super simple blue and yellow stripe scheme that swooshes up around the wheel arch. It also neatly mirrors the Ukrainian flag. In terms of branding, that's pretty genius. It's clean, and nicely complements the Toyota Prius they seem to favour.
Best police car for: Eco-friendly cop duties
Czech police (Police of the Czech Republic) drive silver or white police cars, emblazoned with a kind of hybrid between a chequered pattern and stripes. This motif is carried on around the boot lid and on the front corners of their vehicles. The police cars here are unmistakably emergency vehicles. They traditionally appear to have used the Czech brand, Škoda, for their patrol cars.
Best police car for: Supporting local car manufacturers
The Royal Malaysian Police roll around with a great looking vehicle livery. It helps that they seem to get Honda Civics and Mitsubishi Lancers as their patrol cars. Behind the front wheel arch, bands of orange streak backwards, making the cars look fast. Then, there's a chequered pattern that's prominent around the rear wheel and door. On the bonnet, there are more orange stripes. It looks super quick, even when parked up! It reminds us more of a racing car than a police response vehicle.
Best police car for: Earning respect from car enthusiasts
Iceland (our second choice for best police car)
In Iceland, the police, called Lögreglan, have perhaps the most tasteful livery of all police forces worldwide. It's simple, vibrant and highly utilitarian. The police use a base vehicle (often a Volvo V90) that's painted white, with bright blue and yellow angular stripes. It stands out in the snow, it looks great on a Volvo wagon police vehicle and we think it might be the second best-looking police car livery in the world, after Norway.
Best police car for: Driving in snow
How does Australia's finest compare to the rest of the world's best police cars? Well, NSW has super vibrant and highly recognisable police vehicles.
The base vehicle's colour seems to be either white, blue or grey. Then, the police vehicle preparers apply a chequered pattern graphic up the side.
This pattern is sometimes called dicing, but it originates from Scotland and is called Sillitoe tartan. For some reason, it's become adopted as a police marking. Originally, it was black and white, but when adopted by Australia, it became blue and white. You see matching Sillitoe tartan on police uniforms too.
Below the dicing, there's a bright orange/red section. Round the rear lights, the tartan transitions into chevrons, for great rewards visibility.
Best police car for: Transporting suspects, in comfort
Victoria police also have a distinctive livery. The standard patrol police cars are plain white, with blue Sillitoe tartan. You'll find it on police cars and divi vans.
Best police car for: General duties
In WA, the police have a slightly different scheme as they use lines of fluorescent yellow or orange to sandwich the blue and white dicing.
Best police car for: Patrols through the bush
In the Northern Territory, the police ride around with mid-blue Sillitoe tartan dicing and a bright yellow stripe. This Kia Stinger looks very smart.
Best police car for: Long warranties
Victoria highway patrol cars have a much more aggressive and densely packed livery, with extensive use of blue and yellow, as well as grid lines that break up the colours – plus more dicing!
Best police car for: Catching hooners
South Australia's Highway Patrol appears to be inspired by motorsports. The dicing is reminiscent of a finish-line, chequered flag. The livery is swooping and there are inlays of Sillitoe tartan on the bonnet.
Best police car for: Doubling up as a safety car at The Bend SuperSprint
What makes the best police car livery?
It seems that commonly, contrasting colours are used. This helps make the police cars stand out at greater distances. They also mean motorists and road users instantly recognise the vehicles as police cars. Rather than trying to blend in, most police forces opt for highly conspicuous liveries – the use of shapes, patterns and colours to be visible and noticeable.
The most common colour combination now appears to be white, yellow and blue. This is widely adopted across many parts of Europe and the UK. A white vehicle with blue and red stripes was popular throughout Russia and Eastern Bloc countries.
Blue and white Sillitoe tartan, as seen in Australia, is also used widely across the globe, as is the combination of blue and white markings.
Black and white was popular in the US, thanks to the strong colour contrast. This combo is probably one of the older police vehicle designs.
Green and white were also reasonably common. It was formerly used in Germany but is still in use by the Mexico city police, Peruvian police, Dubai police, Thai Police, Lithuanian Police and the Chilean Police force.
Blue and white was less popular, used in countries like Italy, Spain and Yemen.
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