THE choice of cars by police forces over the decades has always been fascinating.
Back in the 1950s I remember them as mainly the powerful Wolseley 6/90s with a few Rovers and Humber Hawks thrown in.
In the 1960s the Ford badge was a leader with cars like the Zephyr 6 of TV's Z-Cars fame with numerous other choices such as Austin Westminsters and other cars with some oomph under the bonnet.
After that the field widened immensely with capable Rover SD1s and even the odd Morris Marina - but how they caught criminals with that I do not know.
In more modern times the choices have been wide with BMW, Volvo and Range Rover being mainstream choices.
But one car which seemed the be designed for police work was the old Vauxhall Senator in its six-cylinder manual form. The gearing of this car gave it a valuable edge in out-accelerating criminals and it really put the Griffin badge on the police map.
A place where it has stayed and prospered because Vauxhall has now officially opened its own police car factory, the largest of its kind in Europe, at its manufacturing plant in Luton, Bedfordshire.
The factory will convert 2,500 vehicles per year, including cars and vans, for use by police forces, and fire and ambulance services nationwide.
Bringing 50 new jobs to Luton, the new facility has been created after moving production in-house from its previous location in Millbrook, Bedfordshire.
Supplier firms around the country also benefit with 90 per cent of blue-light content, the materials used to convert a standard car in to a Police car, sourced locally from UK suppliers. Local firms include Border Engineering in Luton who make brackets and AV Engineering in Royston who make fascia mouldings.
An array of Vauxhalls will be converted for use by the emergency services at the Luton facility with cars including Corsa, Astra, Insignia and Mokka, and CVs, such as Combo, Movano and the Luton-built Vivaro vans.
Vauxhall is the only manufacturer to offer a one-stop shop for blue-light vehicles. Everything is done in-house from testing to converting and even remarketing of decommissioned vehicles.
Vauxhall is now the number one supplier to police fleets with a 70 per cent market share of competitive segments.