The manual Cortina 2.0 modelled was an area car in service with Essex Police from March 1982. It is believed to have been based in Basildon and would have served for around three years before being replaced. In this era, Police forces often bought products from a company that had production facilities in the area so Essex Police almost exclusively used Fords. Cortinas served in a variety of roles because of this policy, from Traffic to CID and were well liked by the offcers because they were comfortable and, when needed, quick enough to be useful. A small number of 2.3-litre V6 Cortinas were also used by Traffic Police to complement the more common Granada.
UK wide, Fords have probably been the most popular vehicles for use in the area car role since the 1960s, mainly due to the adaptability, performance and economy offered by the Cortina. The area car method of policing was, however, pioneered by Nottingham Police in 1932 who trialled single operative vehicles where the driver used his left hand to operate a Morse key on a box where the passenger seat would have been, while driving, and listened via a hat-mounted earpiece.
The Metropolitan Police introduced an ‘Area Wireless Car Scheme’ in 1934, with two uniformed officers, actually talking to a control room rather than using Morse code, and the success of this meant it was gradually adopted and adapted the world over.
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