Its badge has been revoked, its livery removed and its equipment detached, but this officer has received a discharge with full honors.
NSW Police Bankstown Local Area Command has returned its high performance Lotus Exige, following a hugely positive reaction within the Bankstown community during its long-term loan.
In February, Lotus Cars Australia announced that the lightweight Lotus Exige would be joining the Bankstown Highway Patrol for a term to assist in raising police profile, and to help with critical community relationship issues within the community.
With full NSW Police livery and a removable emergency light system, the Exige was used at Random Breath Testing, Radar and Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) sites. Its bright Saffron Yellow paint was chosen specifically to help identification and increase profile.
The police Exige attended Chinese New Year celebrations at Picnic Point and Warwick Farm, the Eastern Creek Powercruise, Padstow Heights Primary School fete and a Community & Road Education Scheme (CARES) display, with lessons to school children on road safety with police.
The Exige also featured at Paul Keating Park in Bankstown for a community BBQ including members of the Bulldogs NRL team, Fairfield Showground's 'Bring It On' Youth Festival and Bankstown District Scouts awards ceremony.
The Lotus Exige police car even earned itself a front cover on the Canterbury-Bankstown Torch Newspaper.
Following its successful term, Commander Dave Darcy returned the Exige to Lotus Sales and Marketing Manager Jonathan Stretton.
"It's been a fantastic tool for community relations," recalled Darcy, "with thousands of people speaking to police when the Lotus was on the streets, patrolling school zones or 'working' at Random Breath Test sites.
"I saw the Lotus Exige surrounded by hundreds of people at the community events. It's been a marvelous means for reaching out and talking to car enthusiasts and the general public alike, hopefully encouraging them to drive safely.
"People of all ages loved looking at the Lotus; it's an emotional thing. In its role with the NSW Police Force, we turned that attraction for the car into an opportunity for police and the community to talk. And talk, they regularly did!
"I thank Lotus Cars Australia, and in particular Jonathan Stretton for sharing our vision and working so effectively with us to make this happen."
A police partnership is nothing new to Lotus. The precedent for this co-operation was set in the UK, where Lotus forged a similar relationship with the Norfolk constabulary, lending the force a Lotus Elise in 2004 to achieve similar goals. Pre-dating the Elise, a Lotus Esprit donned the Norfolk police colours in 1995.
There were other ecological benefits during the NSW Police loan. The Exige's 1.8-litre four-cylinder, producing 141kW, combines with a kerb weight of just 875kg to offer not only outstanding performance, but fuel consumption of just 7.4l/100km.
Lotus Cars' Jonathan Stretton was extremely pleased to see the positive attention given to the Exige. "We are delighted to have been able to work with Bankstown Police on this venture," he surmised. "It was a unique opportunity for Lotus to support the local police and a proud time to have such a high performance sports car like the Exige on the NSW Police fleet."
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