Thursday, 11 June 2015

puzzling traffic

I used to notice them frequently in Moscow, but now we seem to have a few on the London streets as well. Large black SUV cars with blue flashing lights.

I'm not talking about routine plain clothed police cars, which some how still give off an 'official' look, rather more the kind that have American style rectangular flashing lights and are from manufacturers less associated with police business in the UK. SUVs with names like Nissan Navara, for example, which was the one that passed me today.

In Moscow, there was a whole secondary market in fake police car lights to get through the maddening traffic. These so-called migalka were supposed to be for official purposes. I think the going rate to be backhander 'upgraded' to a VIP was about $10,000. The cars with these lights would then also use the wrong side of the road to charge down ongoing traffic in an attempt to get through jams.

Here, in London, I assume that the ones I've seen are official, although there's something that doesn't seem quite right. If it was embassy cars, you'd expect them to have diplomatic plates or at least CD stickers. If it's the Americans, the cars would be Chevrolets or something similar.

I know the police drive a wide variety of incognito vehicles, but there's usually a consistency to their extra lights. It makes these black vehicles stand out as different. I guess they are probably armed response or similar, but it is somehow puzzling.

Speaking of which:

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