Staffordshire Chief: unmarked police cars must be painted

Staffordshire’s new police and crime commissioner officially began his new role today by vowing to make officers more visible on the streets – by painting unmarked police cars that are used for patrols.

Solutions – Matthew Ellis
Matthew Ellis

Matthew Ellis has revealed one of the “simple” ways he plans to raise the visibility of police is by transforming vehicles, although it is understood that those involved in undercover and surveillance operations will not be altered.

Mr Ellis, a Conservative, won the role to become commissioner last week, beating Labour’s Joy Garner by 51,237 votes to 47,589. But there was a poor turnout at the polls, with just 11.97 per cent voting.

A key aspect of his election campaign was the visibility of police.

He said: “There are simple solutions to some of the problems we have. Why are such a large proportion of vehicles unmarked? If we mark them up you could instantly double the visibility of police on the streets.

“I haven’t been able to find an answer as to why so many are unmarked, but we will do so.”

Other priorities during his three-and-a-half year term will include equipping officers with more modern technology like iPad-style tablets and generating money from the force’s old headquarters in Stafford.

“I can guarantee it’s one of the things I’ll be looking at. The top priority is getting the money out of the old police HQ,” Mr Ellis added.

“I’ve already identified money within the current budget that I believe could be used to invest to save.

“We also need to utilise technology and that will be a big driver to get them out there to do more policing.

“Technology isn’t the answer – technology facilitates the answer. Why do police officers have to come back into police stations to find information?”

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Comments for: "Staffordshire Chief: unmarked police cars must be painted"


One would assume there are very good reasons for not marking up the police cars which are not marked up. Is there really such a large number of unmarked police cars which would help increase visibility?

Graeme Clark

A simple answer to having unmarked cars and plain clothed police officers might be that if criminals or offenders don't see the police, perhaps the police might catch them in the act?

Carter Magna

"He said: “There are simple solutions to some of the problems we have. Why are such a large proportion of vehicles unmarked? If we mark them up you could instantly double the visibility of police on the streets."

Come on E&S, you must be making this stuff up. You'll be telling me that aristocrats actually said "Let them eat cake" next...


Perhaps they are unmarked so that they can catch criminals in the act. Ones who will usually get spooked if they see a marked police car turn up. I'd be concerned if he didn't know that was the reason.


Deterrent and prevent is still better than having to use resources catching the criminals. Random patrols very rarely catch crimes in the act. The article states quite clearly that unmarked cars used in undercover work will not be changed.


*Slow hand clap* ......genius. Pure genius.........

David Hughes

Mr Ellis the reason why some police cars are unmarked is to catch criminals in the act. The population of Staffordshire is currently about the one million mark, so the amount of people who actually voted for you is less than five percent of the population.

Hardly a Carte Blanche majority to go rocking the apple cart I would suggest! If its not broke don't fix it! Another government gimmick that will inevitably fail, leave it to the professionals aka the Chief Constable.


Madness !!!! Lets put all our armed forces in hi-vis gear aswel. Is that not the idea to let them go un noticed as jj said to catch crims unaware. Not a very god start, mind you being a tory he probably means the police officers which will be left after the next round of cuts !!!!!


were do they get there ideas from ?

the police are not interested point blank if there is no revenue to be gained .

if it was not for the people telling them whats going on they could not solve a crime .

police are just no better than the traffic wardens just out for money .


That is almost as rubbish a statement as the one this article relates.

Police not interested unless revenue to be gained?

Yeah each and every one of those officers on the street putting themselves at risk for you are only interested in revenue. You try telling that to the families of the two WPCS shot in Manchester, they were only trying to catch a burglar to make the force a few more quid.

Hmmm people providing information leading to solving a crime... what would you just guess how to solve a crime? It's called investigation... google it, it might help before the next uninformed load of dross you post on the internet.

I'm not even responding to your third point. You are either trolling or have the intellect of a nine year old and need to take your blinkers off.

Oh and it's *Where do they get *their ideas from.

Get an education as well as a clue.


Well he's gonna do well ,top of the tree

Surely they're unmarked for a reason ?

Suppose he's too young to have seen the Sweeney

Mega bucks !!!

You couldn't make it up


Seriously?! You really couldn't make this stuff up! Criminals in Staffordshire must be overjoyed with the new PCC.


Matthew Ellis is the reason why PCCs was a bad idea....

Unmarked Police Cars 101

Used to check on criminals - Most wont stop committing offences just because they see a marked police car, they'll become devious and offend somewhere else. Good example: Known sex offenders who are being watched by a Public Protection Unit.. Without proof of an offender hanging around playgrounds etc no action can be taken.

Working with victims - Good example: Someone who has just been robbed, gets put in an unmarked police car for a drive around to look for the offender. An offender who by the very nature of their offence may know where their victim lives. Few victims will be willing to be driven round in a marked police car.

The police car contains items that it wouldn't be a good idea to advertise are in the vehicle. Good example: Firearms etc.

CID officers on investigations, does Matthew Ellis really believe that CID officers would get even half their work done if they were driving round in a marked car? Good example: Contacting Police Informants.

Police working in areas where a marked car is likely to get a brick thrown through the window or similar.

Police officers such as dog handlers who need a suitable vehicle when travelling to and from home and don't want their whole street or anyone else to know what they do or where they and there family live.


The unmarked police cars like to sneak up behind you and catch you speeding on the motorway.

Ol Ernie

Mr Ellis - give up now! You obviously do not understand policing.

two other ideas of a similar nature:

1 Cardboard cut out of police persons on the streets

2. Cardboard cut out of police cars

Thank you Mr Ellis and goodbye

How much do you get paid for that piece of well thought our changes.

Oh sorry, your are a conservative, you lot never think before you speak.

Role on the next election, either one.

Iain McCallum

This is a deception, as is puting PCSOs in almost [police uniforms. It is a ploy to make it look as if there are more cops on the streets, despite the fact there are less because of the ConDem cuts


There is probably an operational reason for these vehicles to be unmarked. I was led to believe that these police and crime commissioners were not to intefere with the operational running of the police force. Operational issues are the responsibility of the Chief Constable - that's of course if the PCC has not dismissed them! Therefore, when it comes to what colour a police vehicle should be, the PCC should keep his or her nose out. If they wanted more visibility on the streets then they should have hired more officers instead of wasting millions of pounds on a complete and utter waste of time by holding these elections - if it's not broke why fix it?


Unmarked cars are not just used for 'undercover' work. What about officers on recuperative duties, PCSOs or Civilian Staff who are non-confrontational? You could end up with a 7 month pregnant, Human Resources staff member going to a meeting and being flagged down because two blokes are fighting in the street.

That will look fantastic when a marked police car drives straight past a crime in progress!


OK Mr Ellis. You obviously have a head for figures. So you have to find the money to respray and equip these unmarked cars with lights, sirens etc.. Then you will have to find even more money to recruit and train police officers to drive these cars because the figures below show that officers numbers are falling.

And you will have to do this on a smaller budget.

Records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show the force has 1,915 officers, down from a peak of 2,347 in 2006, and numbers are now at their lowest since the late 1970s when 1,941 policed the county of Staffordshire.

Good luck.

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