Barrie Police Cruisers
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 used these test vehicles.
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 (approx. 2000 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.
How are these cruisers being funded?
- Any new cruiser design would be phased in as new vehicles are ordered according to the Service’s budget.
- The cost of conducting the police visibility survey and research, as well as creating the test cars, is covered by the Community Safety and Policing Grant.
Where did the Battenburg pattern come from?
- It was created by the UK Government, Home Office Police Scientific Development Branch (PSDB).
- Created to enhance visibility and recognition of police vehicles from further distances.
- Enhance officer and public safety by reducing the likelihood of road accidents.
- A number of research trials and tests went into creating/selecting the Battenburg pattern.
Why do police vehicles need to be highly visible?
- There is a need for police vehicles to attract the attention of motorists, but an equally important need for them to be quickly identifiable as police vehicles – to be “conspicuous.”
- The conspicuity of an object depends on its contrast with its background. Lime-green yellow, Battenburg patterns, and retro-reflective markings are all considered high- conspicuous markings. This vehicle has all 3, making it highly visible.
- Battenburg markings aim to increase conspicuity, meaning that they are made to attract your attention.
- A more visible car will tend to lead to a perceived increase in police presence which leads to a deterrence effect and increased feelings of safety.
- Increases officer and public safety by reducing accidents.
Why is the design only on half the car, and only on the side?
- In urban/suburban areas, the likely maximum viewing distance is 200 meters. The full Battenburg is designed for 500 meters and is therefore not needed in these settings.
- Does better in areas with lots of ‘visual clutter’ – other cars, stores, houses, etc.
- Studies showed that the side of the car is most seen by passing motorists; the front of the vehicle is only seen in the drivers rear view mirror.
Why are there retro-reflective strips?
- Retro-reflective fluorescent markings 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 (approx. 2000 ft) away in clear conditions, 333 meters in snow, and 284 meters in rain.
Why are the colours yellow / blue?
- Lime-green/yellow is the most visible colour from a distance. It reflects the most light, which means we see it first.
- Research shows that using this colour on fire trucks can reduce the number of accidents they are involved in.