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How Police Use Pickup Trucks to Stay in Hot Pursuit

Police vehicles have to be at least as fast and tough as the vehicles being pursued. Places like Italy and Dubai use supercars to catch up to the fast and furious. US cops may not have Lamborghinis, but they have traded up from Crown Vics. While Dodge Chargers and Ford Explorers are commonly sighted, many US police forces also use pickup trucks. Clearly, someone in the South Wales police department was inspired. The South Welsh Bobbies are now getting a Ford Ranger Raptor as a pursuit vehicle. But how does the UK’s forbidden-fruit pickup compare to American police pickups?

UK: Ford Ranger Raptor police truck

Ford Ranger Raptor European Police Car
Ford Ranger Raptor European Police Car | Ford

The Welsh police force hasn’t revealed how much of the police-spec Ranger Raptor has been modified from stock. Apart from the blue-and-fluorescent-yellow livery, of course. However, considering Autocar reported the police Raptor has a 105-mph top speed, horsepower probably hasn’t changed. That top speed might also explain why Ford won’t sell the Ranger Raptor in the US. But as Motor1 reports, outright speed wasn’t the point.

Ford Ranger Raptor European Police Car
Ford Ranger Raptor European Police Car | Ford

In an interview, Ford Performance stated that the Ranger Raptor “may prove to be the perfect tool to access some of the U.K.’s most rural locations.” Based on what Smith and Sniff experienced, the truck can definitely tackle the British and Welsh countryside. Just a few of its off-road upgrades include Fox Pro shocks, a dedicated Baja off-road mode, as well as off-road tires and underbody protection. No wonder Ford claims it has “more than enough to keep up with criminals…across gravel, mud, and sand.”

Ford Ranger Raptor European Police Car
Ford Ranger Raptor European Police Car | Ford

At the moment, only the South Wales Police are testing the Ranger Raptor. However, Autocar described a Ford spokesman reporting that several ‘covert teams’ from other police departments have also inquired about it. Look out, sheep thieves: here comes the fuzz.

US: Ford F-150 Police Responder and Chevrolet Silverado SSV

Ford F-150 Police Responder police pickup
Ford F-150 Police Responder police pickup | Ford

Ford doesn’t offer a police Ranger in the States. Instead, cops get the F-150 Police Responder.

The 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 doesn’t get more power or torque. But the truck does get some upgrades from civilian stock. Besides the lights and livery, there’s easy-clean vinyl bench seating and flooring in the rear. There’s also a high-output alternator for powering all that gear. Instead of a normal pickup bed, there’s a 5.5’ cargo box. But the F-150 Police Responder can still tow. There’s a standard Class IV hitch rated for 7000 lbs, and the Trailer Tow Package can bring that up to 10,700. And for those who criticize the F-150’s aluminum body, the Police Responder has it, too.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado SSV police pickup
2019 Chevrolet Silverado SSV police pickup | GM

But Ford isn’t the only automaker who offers a police pursuit special. There’s also the Chevrolet Silverado SSV. Like the F-150, it has an upgraded alternator, lights, and vinyl seating and flooring. But where the Ford can tow up to 10,700 lbs, the Silverado can only trailer 9,800. The Silverado’s 5.8-liter V8 also makes less power and torque than the EcoBoost V6. However, unlike the F-150, Chevrolet offers the Silverado SSV with an off-road suspension package. Meaning, arguably, the Silverado SSV is a closer match to the Welsh Raptor than Ford’s F-150 Responder.

How UK and US police trucks compare

Ford Ranger Raptor European Police Car
Ford Ranger Raptor European Police Car | Ford

Most obviously, the F-150 Police Responder and Silverado SSV are physically bigger than the Ranger Raptor. The former two are full-size, and the latter is mid-size. And although the Ranger Raptor is lighter than the F-150 or Silverado, with its diesel engine, it’s slower. But the roads and towns in the UK are on a different scale compared to the US. Different conditions make for different trucks. The kinds of incidents the South Wales Police see on a day-to-day basis probably require a more off-road-focused truck. Hence, the Ranger Raptor.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado SSV police pickup rear
2019 Chevrolet Silverado SSV police pickup rear | GM

And, because it is a Raptor, the Ranger will most likely perform better off-road than the F-150 or Silverado. Although, with that optional suspension package, the Silverado SSV may pull ahead of the F-150. At least on dirt and gravel: on-pavement, the F-150 has the power advantage.

Ford F-150 Police Responder police pickup rear view
Ford F-150 Police Responder police pickup rear view | Ford

Maybe if Ford brings the next-gen Ranger Raptor over, we can run a proper comparison test, with sirens and everything.