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Devon and Cornwall acquire ‘ultimate hot hatch’ cop car

In a bid to educate drivers on road safety, the force has acquired a £30,000 Ford Focus RS which it will transform into a unique police car.

In a project funded by the VIsion Zero South West road safety partnership, Devon and Cornwall Police plan to use the vehicle to raise awareness of road safety, both via YouTube videos and targeted events across the county. 

Equipped with a “roaring exhaust”, rear spoiler and 345bhp, the Focus RS has been chosen for its status among young drivers and modified car enthusiasts. 

According to the first video in the series, “Wild looks, rocket-ship speed and sharp handling has put this car at the top of the hot hatchback tree.” 

It will be the subject of a series of road safety videos released on YouTube channel “George’s Car Media” - which attracts between 20 and 30 million views per month. Sgt Owen Messenger from the force will feature on the videos. 

They will touch on various road safety subjects, but also demonstrate how to modify a vehicle safely and legally - including whether drivers need to notify anyone following certain modifications. Commenters on the video will be able to have a say in what modifications are made. 

The force has previously used a Lotus Evora as a way of initiating road safety conversatoins. 

Sgt Messenger said: "The Lotus has been absolutely fantastic and has proved our concept that having a unique vehicle really works to engage with people.

“Over the past year I’ve had really insightful road safety conversations with thousands of people – both at live shows and online – purely because of the Lotus.”

The Evora has since however been returned to Lotus which is why the Focus RS has been acquired. 

“We use the car as a ‘hook’ to encourage young people to watch the videos – we then drip feed the Fatal Five and other road safety messages into these videos,” Sgt Messenger added. 

“This is the perfect car for engaging young people and those with an interest in the modified car scene – the Focus RS is unrivalled in its reputation.

“As well as using it at events and on social media to promote road safety messages, we are also working with the GCM channel to create a series of videos showing how you can safely modify a vehicle such as this.

“This project helps the police reach an audience we might not otherwise be able to engage with. We are reaching out to a generation of people using modern social media techniques and an influencer in GCM, which helps us forge better relationships with the public and specifically young people.” 

Superintendent Adrian Leisk, strategic roads policing lead and chair of the Vision Zero South West enforcement sub-group, said: “Young drivers can be hard for police to engage with for a number of reasons, so having a vehicle like this that appeals to them is going to really help.

“This is all about road safety. At the moment too many people are being killed or seriously injured on our roads and to make a difference we need to take brave and innovative steps – particularly to hit our Vision Zero South West goal of halving all serious collisions in Devon and Cornwall by 2030.

“Sadly, we know young people are over-represented in these collisions. Every young life lost or dramatically changed due to a collision is an absolute tragedy and this is just one of the many ways we are working hard to prevent such crashes.”

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