Panda Cars websitePolicemen in the Seventies tended to chase criminals on foot. They patrolled on foot, by bike or in a small blue car. We called these the panda car. This was because they often had a black and white checked pattern on them to make them visible as police cars.

If a criminal hopped in a fast car and sped off then the police had lost them. This lack of a high-speed car might have been due to the police budget or it might be a symbol of a naïve time when criminals came quietly. Perhaps organised crimes were outside of the remit of the local bobby. High-speed police chases on a Starsky and Hutch level just didn’t happen.

When it became obvious that actually they did happen, the jam sandwich police car was introduced and we said goodbye to the light blue panda. Nowadays both the fast response cars and the ordinary patrol cars have the jam sandwich style (it’s called this because it’s a layer of bright orange between two layers of white so looks like a jam sandwich, us Brits being so literary).

According to Wikipedia, the change of model and pattern was due to budget but I remember at the time the newspapers and TV news going on about how the jam sandwiches were much faster and the police would be better able to do their jobs.

Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room


2 Responses

  1. […] was also the police codename for a police car (see Panda Cars), the name of the drama being given for the […]

  2. I was a Police Officer in the time of the introduction of panda cars.
    The original idea was for the police officer to drive to a location, park his panda car, alight and don his helmet and then patrol the area on FOOT.
    He then carried out the same in another area, thus cutting down on the number of Officers needed.
    However, it didn’t work out like that and the panda became a general mobile patrol car!

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