The Honda Civic Type R hot hatch has joined NSW Police ranks — but it’s not on the highway patrol fleet and its primary role will not be traffic enforcement.
There are no lights, sirens or police radio installed, instead the Type R is a community liaison vehicle to be displayed at special events and is designed to break down barriers between the public and the men and women in blue.
It is also part of the NSW Police “Eyewatch” program that aims to connect police with the community via social media.
But it won’t be taking down baddies or speeders anytime soon.
“We could intervene if there was a major issue or if we saw a public safety incident but it is really about community engagement,” said senior constable Justin Hirato, one of the officers attached to the vehicle.
“A lot of people haven’t spoken to police before so in many cases when they talk to us it’s their first interaction,” said senior constable Jared Mildenhall. “It’s a conversation starter, it breaks down barriers.”
The Civic Type R is supplied by Honda free of charge to NSW Police so it doesn’t cost taxpayers to have it on the fleet.
There’s another reason it’s not about to join the highway patrol branch anytime soon:
The Honda Civic Type R is only available with a manual transmission and, in NSW, operational police vehicles need to be automatic to meet internal guidelines. The exceptions are motorcycles and specialised heavy duty off-road vehicles used in remote areas, such as the Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series.
The first outing for the NSW Police Honda Civic Type R is this Saturday’s Fairfield Police and Community Expo at Emerson Reserve Wetherill Park, where it will be displayed alongside a Polair helicopter, mounted police, the K9 unit, the public order and riot squad and highway patrol.
The “Eyewatch” vehicle will be on loan to NSW Police for 12 months. “We positive the NSW Police Force will find it to be a great community engagement tool,” said Honda Australia boss Stephen Collins.
The NSW Police “Eyewatch” program was created in 2012 to connect local communities with police via social media. Today more than 1.1 million people “follow” the NSW Police Facebook page, which uploads up to 70 posts daily.
In recent years, NSW Police have had a number of high profile “community liaison cars”, including a Porsche 911, Porsche Panamera, a McLaren sports-car, a HSV GTS and a Ford Falcon GT-F.
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This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling