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Friday, 30 August, 2002, 16:33 GMT 17:33 UK
Smart solution helps police beat traffic
The police smart car
Two cars fit in a bay meant for one police car
A half-size police car is being used by officers in London to fight crime.

City of London officers are trying out a Smart car complete with sirens and police badges for two weeks to see if it can help them cope with traffic congestion.

The force polices the streets of London's square mile where traffic moves at an average speed of 17mph.

It accepted an offer from DaimlerChrysler to try one of the 2.5-metre cars.


It does raise a smile, but we have no shortage of officers wanting to try the vehicle out

Police spokesman
So far the vehicle has been well received by officers, who are able to slip through small gaps in the traffic and can do a U-turn in roads in which normal vehicles can not manage a three-point turn.

The car is also cheap to run, police say.

The force recently launched its cycle squad and also uses motorbikes to get around the traffic - but those require extra training for officers.

Before deciding whether to take on any more Smart cars, the force will have to make sure officers more used to larger vehicles are not too embarrassed to drive it.

Routine patrols

A City of London Police spokesman said they were trying to dispel the myth that it was a joke car and show it could be used for serious purposes.

He said: "It does raise a smile, but we have no shortage of officers wanting to try the vehicle out."

It was more likely to be used on regular patrols than on police pursuits, he added.


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21 Jul 02 | England
25 Sep 01 | England
12 Apr 00 | UK
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