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About the Author

Karl Bickerton is a retired police officer, now living in Spain. He

has made a particular study of police diecast models, which he has
collected since the 1960s. Most of his collection deals with the
British police and the history and use of vehicles and support
equipment, as well as their connection to police programmes and
the public interest.
In retirement Karl still takes an interest in vehicles, which now
include planes (he is a qualified pilot) and motorcycles (he and his
wife both ride a Harley Davidson Road King living life to the


This book is for all collectors and enthusiasts with an interest

in the British police service, its transport and the diecast
models that have been produced by many and varied model
makers and manufacturers over the years.
I am grateful for the opportunity to share my collection
with you, it has been both a pleasure and of great interest
collating all the information and putting it all together; I have
certainly learnt a lot along the way.
I hope it will give you some insight into the British police
service, its origins, history and connections to British police
television shows, with some background and history of toy and
model producers and manufacturers and the police vehicles
that have seen police service both past and present.
It is a service that I am proud to have been a member of,
one that is respected around the world and in fact one on which
many countries have based their respective police forces.
I dedicate this book to current and past members of the
police service to those officers injured in the course of their
duties and to those officers who have paid the ultimate price.
The police service is not just a job, but a way of life.
A donation from the sale of this book will go to The
Surrey Police Benevolent Fund.

Copyright Karl Bickerton

The right of Karl Bickerton to be identified as author of this work
has been asserted by him in accordance with section 77 and 78 of
the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be
reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any
form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying,
recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of the
Any person who commits any unauthorized act in relation to this
publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims
for damages.
A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the British

ISBN 978 1 84963 869 2

First Published (2015)
Austin Macauley Publishers Ltd.
25 Canada Square
Canary Wharf
E14 5LB

Printed and bound in Great Britain

A very special thank you to my long-suffering wife, Pauline
who finds her lounge space getting smaller, due to the everexpanding display cabinets that get added for her patience
and understanding.
To current serving and former police colleagues, who
pushed me into this project, with their enthusiasm and drive.
(Pardon the pun.)
My special thanks to a knowledgeable and very helpful
Peter Coxon at British American Models and Diecast, who
works so hard to source my models to my expanding
To Paul Slade at FIREBRIGADE Models, who supplies
me with the specialist police support vehicles.
Maurice Kime at policecaruk.com, a valuable source of
information on many United Kingdom police vehicles and
their history.
Nigel Parker at Brooklin Models for information and
background to his company.
I would like to thank the various police museums for
information and their support.
To the publishers Austin Macauley for their help and
guidance in getting everything right.
And finally a recognition that the names, Corgi, Dinky,
Brooklin, Oxford, Minichamp (Pauls Art), Richmond,
Cararama, Vitesse, Daysgone, Firebrigade Models and Models
Of Yesteryear together with the J collection are
acknowledged as Trade Marks.

The Author

Proud to have served

The Zephyr 4 from the 1960s police drama Z Cars

We all have our unique memories of police vehicles, either
from childhood in our own neighbourhoods, or through the
medium of television. The popularity of the police service on
television and the iconic vehicles in shows from Dixon of Dock
Green through to Life on Mars is evidence enough of the
interest in this subject. It is surprising, therefore, that model
toys of police vehicles has been a subject overlooked for so
long. Intricately constructed diecast models faithfully record a
startling evolution since the early days of mechanised transport
through to todays cutting edge. As technology advances,
criminals become more sophisticated and the police service
have the job of keeping up and hopefully staying ahead.
The reality of how far weve come and the technology that
my force and others are now able to deploy is nothing short of
remarkable. The policing of our roads has always presented
considerable challenges. Pressure has increased on
metropolitan areas to absorb greater demand, and congestion
charging and toll roads are becoming more established. At the
same time, other ways to de-congest roads continue for
example, the additional investment in public transport and
efforts to support the requirements of cyclists continue to be
driven through Central Government. While all this is going on,
the emergency services are still required to be there when the
public need them, and this has also required innovation. The
balance of undertaking enforcement activity against criminal
users of the road network and supporting the public use of the
highways has never been more difficult.
As a former Police Officer serving alongside Surreys
finest, Karl is an ideal tour guide through the journey of over
100 years of police transport history. The book also showcases
what is a beautifully diverse collection and will be of interest
to all comers. Television plays an important part in shaping
public perception of the police and it is a thoughtful interlude

within the book to show how the different police vehicles have
been represented on the small screen over the years. The
photography also serves to bring back memories for people of
their own personal experience of the police service and no
doubt their childhood toy collections!
I can reflect on the changes to the vehicles which I have
seen over my 24 years of service and it does give me pause for
thought when I think of the Metros which we used as response
vehicles in the Met in the 1980s and 1990s. Just seeing the
photographs doesnt make me feel any younger, but it does
help to capture the distance we have travelled and the pace that
we have had to move to keep up and stay ahead to deliver what
the public expect of us. I can only imagine what new
innovations this collection will contain in years to come!
As a final word I would like to express my personal thanks
to Karl for his generosity in making a donation to the Surrey
Police Benevolent Fund from the proceeds of this excellent
Lynne Owens QPM
Chief Constable, Surrey Police
September 2013

An Introduction To My Collection And How

It Started
I suppose that there is a collector in all of us: it just takes an
interest in a particular subject to get us started. In my case it
was a family member who was a serving police officer at the
time; in the same period, the late 1960s, television was
showing such police dramas as Dixon of Dock Green and Z
Cars, and so the seeds were planted and led to an interest that
has spanned a number of years now.
Back then, my grandfather said, You take the rough with
the smooth lad, but I would not want to do nowt else. So I
wanted to become a police officer and was lucky enough to
attain that ambition; I could see back all those years ago that
police were respected and held in high esteem.
With my first pocket money, doing some little job to earn
it, I headed off to my local toy shop and gazed through the big
glass window and on one of the display shelves spotted what
was to be my first purchase, a Dinky Ford Transit Accident
Unit No 287. I didnt realise then where it would lead and
where it has ended up today.
Its not until you start collecting or indeed do the job that
you realise how little you know about a subject and what can
be discovered when you dive into it: the hidden secrets and
treasures, long forgotten.
In my case I wanted to know about the early years of
police transport and mobility: how were these vehicles used,
for what purpose and who drove them? I knew about the big
Zephyrs, the Cortinas and Consuls, Id seen them, I had seen
Grandad and some of his mates drive them, on occasion was
permitted to sit in one, but I wanted to know more and so
would trot off to the local library. No computers in those days:
I would hunt for information on the model as they were added
to a very small collection. What I could not find in the library,

I would obtain the information from Grandad or one of his

police mates.
After about twenty or so models I was hooked and over the
years have now amassed over 600 items.
As and when I depart this world the collection will go to
the Surrey Police museum for the enjoyment of both staff and
visitors to police headquarters; in the meantime I will continue
to add to it.
The collection has generated a lot of interest and many a
discussion and it has also given a lot of pleasure. It was family
friends and colleagues who said, Why dont you do a book on
the subject? To our knowledge no one has done one that deals
with specifically British police models. So it is these people
you have to blame!
Enjoy your collecting and I hope this book will give you
some ideas; enjoy the hunt for those elusive and hard-to-find
models and I hope it has given some inspiration. There are still
models that I am on the hunt for and have people on the
lookout for them, so I live in hope.

A Brief History of the British Police Service

The modern police service of England and Wales dates from
1829 when the then Home Secretary, Sir Robert Peel, formed
the Metropolitan police in London. This was to be the pattern
for the United Kingdom and indeed around the world.
Soon after the Metropolitan police had proved itself and
its worth, other counties formed police forces on the same lines
and were authorised to form and create Constabularies. As
the need for properly organised police forces was recognised,
all towns and counties were required by law to create a police
However, some of these forces were totally inadequate and
were amalgamated with larger neighbouring forces to cover
towns and rural areas.
The number of forces was still very high and over the
years further amalgamations were needed and indeed were
made, most notably during the Second World War. In 1968,
the Government of the day implemented still more
amalgamations, which were frequently against the wish of
citizens and the police forces concerned. But despite this in
1974 there was a complete change to the county boundaries
and jurisdictions, which resulted in the forty-three forces of
today, seven of which are very large force areas; these forces
are Cleveland, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, the West
Midlands, West Yorkshire, Metropolitan Police and the City of
London. The remaining forces cover county areas or the shires.
The first police vehicles were drawn by either one or two
horses, with a lockable secure bolt behind the driver. In those
early days the police officers were known as Peelers or Bow
Street runners. At this time this type of vehicle was the only
way to deal with the law breakers that is, until 1910, when
mechanical transport arrived in the form of the Renault AG. In
1918 the Crossley arrived: these were bought as surplus to
Army requirements after the Great War of 19141918.

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