As part of the Barrie Police Service’s evidence-based policing initiatives, the Service has been looking at different aspects of police visibility within our community.
In July 2022, a new test design for the Barrie Police Service (BPS) cruisers, one of the most visible elements of the Service, was unveiled to the public.
Three existing cruisers were updated with a half-Battenburg or checkerboard design and were operational throughout the community with the Community Safety & Well-Being Teams, as well as the Traffic Unit using these test vehicles.
After our successful test phase, we have implemented several suggestions that were received regarding the design of the car, including:
- using a white vehicle instead of the existing dark blue.
- adjusting the shape of the pattern to follow the shape of the body panel,
- outlining the word “Police” to make it more visible.
- enhancing the rear retro-reflective stripes.
Through a series of pop-up surveys, held in-person throughout the city last summer, respondents let us know that they found the cars to be visible, approachable, and friendly, and many preferred the new Battenburg design to the navy-blue design.
The Battenburg pattern was created in the United Kingdom (UK) to enhance visibility and recognition of police vehicles from further distances. This can help enhance officer and public safety by reducing the likelihood of collisions, as well as encouraging motorists to drive more carefully when police have a visible presence. Higher police visibility has the potential to reduce or prevent opportunities to commit crimes.
This design incorporates blue and lime‐green/yellow, which is the most visible colour from a distance.
Retroreflective fluorescent markings on the cars are shown to be extremely effective at increasing visibility based on Canadian research regarding transport trucks, and UK research on emergency vehicles. A full white retro‐reflective outline can be seen from 601 meters (approximately 2,000 ft) away in clear conditions, 333 meters in snow, and 284 meters in rain.
The design is focused on the side of the vehicle, making it more noticeable to motorists passing by and reducing side-impact collisions. It offers strengthened visibility from further distances and even in rain or snow.
This project was funded through the Community Safety and Policing Grant.
“The safety of the public and our members is always our foremost concern, and the Battenburg cruisers will increase the visibility of our vehicles in all conditions,” said Barrie Police Chief Rich Johnston. “The public needs to be able to clearly identify police vehicles. When our vehicles are more visible, the public is more aware of police presence in the community, which can lead to a deterrence effect and increased feelings of safety.”
Going forward, all newly ordered BPS cruisers will be white cars with the half-Battenburg, high-visibility design. The previous blue design will be replaced as new cars are ordered according to the approved budget.
For more information on the new BPS Battenburg police vehicles, please visit https://www.barriepolice.ca/fleet