I was approached by Amberley Books who wanted a History of British Police Vehicles in their 96-page full colour format. This was exciting as of the handful of books dealing with the subject, none had enjoyed the option of full colour. What quickly became clear was that the subject was too big for the format ever to do it justice, so I made the decision to reduce the geographical coverage to England and Wales and the the types to patrol and response vehicles (effectively cars, 4x4s and light vans).
Essentially of course, there is really no such thing as a police car or van. They are basically ordinary manufacturers' models, fitted with extra equipment and - since the 1960s - treated to livery. The amount of mechanical modification from standard has often been overestimated. Usually it is minor, frequently there is none, while often police models actually have items removed from their specification. What makes them interesting and different is the way they look with their many additions and the exciting things they are tasked to do.
To me the colour volume was an ideal opportunity to cover the profusion of individual force liveries which flowered in the 30 or so years from the mid 60s to the mid-90s. No book had recorded these. But to discuss them required an explanation of how there came to be 43 separate territorial police forces in England and Wales and also the whole story of police patrol and pursuit. This allowed me a nice balance - to be able to sketch out the history of police mobility, mainly with the aid of inevitably black and white illustrations, before launching into a detailed look at the magic 30 years of colourful individualism.