Unmarked police cars

Our story in the March issue relating to an unmarked police MGB V8 provoked the following reaction from the Thames Valley Police:

Sir,

I think it is unfortunate that your responsible publication should be prepared to publish such an item as "That Bucks MG".

The fact that you are some nine years out of data and not aware that in 1968 five forces were amalgamated into the Thames Valley Police is not as important as your failure to point out that those who exceed speed limits are more likely to be the cause of pile-ups on motorways and thereby kill and maim innocent motorists.

Thames Valley Police, Kidlington. R. J. BURTON Chief Inspector, Public Relations Officer

Almost coincidentally the Daily Telegraph reported a case, at St. Albans Crown Court in which a Chelsea music teacher, stopped for speeding on the M1 by an unmarked police MGB GT, was discharged after a second jury had failed to reach a verdict on a charge of dangerous driving. She was alleged to have driven her GT6 at 106 mph. on the M1, but she claimed that she had been forced into this situation by the unmarked police car while trying, work out what the MGB was trying to do. "I thought they were two speed freaks wanting to push me off the road or annoy me," so she tried to escape.

The Automobile Association came out strongly against the use of unmarked police cars in the Daily Telegraph report: "We don't like the police using underhand methods. Serious problems can arise where a police officer is driving an unmarked car at high speed."

For once we agree with the AA. The following letter from a Hertfordshire reader illustrates the same point:

Sir,

I read with great interest the article in Motor Sport March '77 entitled "That Bucks MG". It prompted me to write, feeling my observations may be of some interest.

On the 1st of January this year I was travelling down the outside lane of the M1 in Hertfordshire, nearing London, when a swiftly approaching Reliant Scimitar was observed in my rear view mirror. I moved over, and it passed me at about 75 m.p.h. A dark blue MGB GT then appeared and gave chase, the Scimitar than started to pull away.

At that point a two tone horn was heard. Where from? Well the Scimitar kept going and the apparently standard MG began to struggle, finding the pace a bit hot. "That was the last I saw of them until, round the next corner, both cars were on the hard shoulder, a uniformed police officer was emerging from the MG.

If that's not inciting the public to break speed limits!

If I had been in my Lotus Elan, and seen the MG approaching a certain temptation to "blow it off" could have occurred, an expensive instinct obviously to be curbed. You are warned!

Name and address supplied.

Another reader reports that "the Sussex Constabulary is currently employing an unmarked, yellow, R-registration MGB for traffic duty in the Crowborough area. A Surrey reader reports that a plain orange MGB GT V8, which stopped him for driving at 64 m.p.h. on the Oxford-Banbury road, A423, resulting in a licence endorsement, was registered VBH 920N.

You have been warned!