Should police be highly visible or blend into the background? This question applies to Police vehicles as well as to Police walking a beat and many Police Forces around the world are choosing “visible” so have painted their cars with a highly visible pattern known as Battenburg markings. At a recent Cobourg Police Board meeting, Chief Paul VandeGraaf announced that Cobourg Police will be implementing a Pilot project for 24 months with one car using the new markings. This will help gauge Officer and Public reaction. Originating in research in the U.K. in the 1990’s, “the Battenburg pattern was specifically created to maximize the visibility of police vehicles; however, further studies are working to explore how it is perceived in a North American context.” Cobourg is the third Police service in Ontario to make this change – the others are Barrie and St. Thomas.
- The name comes from its similarity in appearance to the cross-section of a Battenberg cake;
- The change is expected to “increase our visibility and approachability as a police service as well as enhancing police legitimacy, police-community relations and improving officer safety.”
- The Pilot project will apply the markings to a Ford Explorer SUV
- Research shows that conspicuous vehicle markings increase officer safety.
- Insurance studies also found fewer accidents with white and yellow cars (Allen, 1970).
- To maximize visibility, the Battenburg pattern is made from retro-reflective wrap.
- The design choices have been driven solely by research, rather than trying to create a car that presents a stereotypical or more traditional image of the Service to the community.
- A primary objective is to assist in high-visibility policing for public reassurance and deterrence of traffic violations. plus make police vehicles universally recognisable.
- During the pilot period there will be an opportunity for members and the public to provide input.
As yet, there is no Cobourg vehicle with the planned markings but below is a sample from Europe. (U.K.).
Update – 25 September
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