Red car drags in the speedsters

ANNA WILLIAMS
Last updated 12:38 25/08/2014
red police car
DEREK FLYNN/FAIRFAX NZ

UNEXPECTED: Senior Constable Brian Smith says people don't seem to register a red car as a police car.

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A new addition to the fleet of Marlborough police cars seems to be a lot less visible to motorists, despite the fact it's bright red.

The new red Holden SV6 arrived in Marlborough in May and is aimed at increasing police visibility on the roads while promoting road safety.

But Marlborough highway patrol Senior Constable Brian Smith, who was assigned the car, said he had caught more people speeding, driving dangerously, not wearing their seatbelts, and driving drunk since he got the car three months ago.

A few weeks back he caught a man on a Harley Davidson motorbike doing 177 kilometres an hour on State Highway 1, near Clarence. Not long after another driver was caught doing 174kmh in a BMW. Both men automatically lost their licence on the side of the road.

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Smith, who has been a police officer for more than 41 years, said police car radars could spot a speeding driver up to 2km away. Most drivers adjusted their speed when they noticed a police car up ahead.

But people didn't automatically recognise the red car as a police car and weren't slowing down as they approached it, Smith said.

"They don't seem to react to the red car the same as they do a normal patrol car," he said.

"It's the same as when we changed from the black and white police cars in 1992, people were jumping up and down about police setting them up."

There was nothing sinister about the new coloured car, he said. He wanted drivers to adjust their speed when they saw any car coming towards them.

"If they lift their foot, we've achieved something," he said.

The car is one of three coloured cars in the Tasman police district, which includes Marlborough, Nelson and the West Coast.

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- The Marlborough Express

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