23 Nov 2018

New patrol cars 'a bit snug' for some

8:10 am on 23 November 2018

Some police officers aren't too happy with the lack of headroom in the new patrol cars they're getting, which makes it more difficult to get offenders into the back seat.

A police car at a cordon.

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

The Police Association said it had received reports of officers having problems with the headroom in the new Holden Commodore liftbacks, which will be the standard car that police use once the current Commodore sedans are fazed out.

The issue was brought to light by an anonymous constable in the association's latest news magazine.

They refer to the new cars as "a bit snug".

"Some mates in Counties [Manukau] were left scratching their heads on how to return 'one' to the station when he just didn't fit in the back seat."

Police Association president Chris Cahill said the car's roofs slope down in the back seat, which makes it more difficult to get taller people into - particularly if they don't want to get into the car.

"If someone's compliant obviously it's a relatively easy process but if they're struggling and they don't want to get in it can be quite difficult because you've sort of got to push them in or have somebody in the car trying to pull."

Mr Cahill said he was aware of some issues as a result of the new cars, but there weren't wide-spread problems.

"I can see how, with the wrong sort of person, there is a difference - without a doubt - from the older vehicles to the new ones."

He personally prefers the older models.

"I think the older one's got the better shape," he said. "The newer one probably looks more stylish but when you're using it as a police vehicle you'd rather something that actually works rather than style."

Police said in a statement that they hadn't received any complaints about the cars and weren't aware of any specific instances where there'd been issues.

"The actual difference in headroom between this model and the previous model is only 13mm, and the dimensions are similar to other five-door liftbacks."

Police have a fleet of around 3200 vehicles including 2400 passenger vehicles, which are predominantly Holden Commodore sedans.

However, following the piece in the Police Association magazine police said they would be surveying frontline officers to get their take on the new cars.

The new Holdens started being rolled out in April this year with 157 deployed so far.

Ten new vehicles are being introduced every week.