25 units of Mitsubishi's 4-door fire breathing Lancer Evolution sedan as their new pursuit and VIP escort vehicle. PDRM is not alone in this purchase. UK's Southern Yorkshire police will also be taking delivery of their new Evos as part of their Road Crime Unit.
PDRM's Lancer Evolution high speed pursuit units will serve alongside their standard Proton Waja (Impian in Europe) patrol cars. Besides the Waja, a few units of Satria GTis and not too long ago, the ridiculously fast wagon Volvo 850-T5 were also used as pursuit vehicles.
The South Yorkshire Police in UK are already operating an existing fleet of previous generation Lancer Evolutions for their Road Crime Unit.
UK police vehicles are fitted with a PNC (police national computer) terminal (pictured above) that allows them to connect to the police department's database to retrieve any required information of the suspect's vehicle. An ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) camera continuously scan vehicle's number plates for suspicious backgrounds. It is unclear what equipment levels will be fitted to the PDRM Lancer Evolutions, but all the existing Proton Waja patrol units are equipped with a notebook computer. It's connectivity and usage is unclear though.
So, soon we will have 25 units of Evos in police livery prowling our highways and streets. And therein lies my concern. While there is no perfect police force in this world (though Germany's Autobahnpolizei comes pretty close in my opinion), I have my reservations against putting these machines at the hands of the Malaysian police. The Malaysian police force may be tasked of upholding traffic laws, but all too often I see police patrol cars switching lanes without proper signalling, and they don't even bother to wear seatbelts! Yes I am aware that some private security organizations direct their personnels not to wear seatbelts for fear of impeding their quick actions. But private organizations make their own rules of operation. As far as government security forces go, every single one of them from the British SAS commandos in their Range Rovers to Porsche 911 driving German autobahn polizei wear their seatbelts. Period. You are not going to do any good if you get hurt in an offsensive maneuver from a suspect.
The local press states that police personnels tasked with the Evos will be given special training, then again I am pretty sure those guys in the Wajas are trained in both tactical offensive and defensive driving as well. Doesn't seem to make any difference does it?
Not much is known on the details of the advance driver training these Evo driving police personnel will been given. But I do hope it will mirror more like the British and less like the Americans. See in the case of the British police, there are very clear rules of engagement when it comes to high speed pursuits. Safety of the public is the first priority, then only comes the job of apprehending the suspect. The Yanks however believe in the reverse. American TV networks glorifies high speed police chases with their "breaking news." The British police pursuit units primary task is to keep up with the suspect and relay information to the control center via radio before deciding to continue or terminate the pursuit. British police use their Evos in "packs" to hunt down the suspect and the modus operandi is usually lining up alongside it to "box" it in.
The first video is a typical American police pursuit. So some guy stole some car. Big deal. Why do they have to engage the suspect in such a way that puts so many civilians in danger? If the TV network helicam is able to follow the suspect, why can't the police chopper? Or to seal off exits lay stingers on the ground and puncture the suspect's tires? The danger to the public in high speed police chases on criminals is different from the kind of danger street racers pose to the public in their immature loud Hondas, Toyotas and Protons. The former is a desperate attempt to escape from the law while the latter is an immature contest of who has the bigger balls. In their desperation, criminals will not hesitate to hurt / endanger other civilian road users.
Watch how in a desperate attempt to escape the suspect nearly collided a cyclist and another truck at an intersection. And the American police continue to barge their way through heavy traffic, at one point going against traffic!
The way the British handles a high speed pursuit is below. Note the different role of the Brit pursuit units - to keep the suspect in view until helicopter arrives or until reinforcement units arrive to take down the suspect in a safe manner. And also the constant relaying of information to the control center in deciding whether to continue pursuit or to terminate. Air support from the helicam meanwhile relays information on traffic situation ahead for the pursuit police vehicle. Undercover vehicles are also used extensively.
Watch the video below of a British police Lancer Evolution in pursuit of a stolen BMW 6 series.
Note the differences with the American cops when the suspect went against traffic in the oppossite lane. The British police terminated the pursuit and figured it is not worth the risk. They managed to recover the car later. So you lose the bad guy this time. But criminals like these, they are bound to come back. They always do. You will just have to nab them the next time.
Short vid on police driver training class starts at 4:30 mark.
UK police is far from perfect. But they sure make a lot more sense compared to the Yanks. Either way, I don't look forward to seeing any of these police liveried Evos in our local roads until the regular police I see on the roads up their driving discipline.