Riotous Rides


Anyone who happened to be in the city of London on the much hyped ‘financial fools day’ this week, may have noticed, in the gathering throng of demonstrators, onlooking construction workers and suits in strategic mufti, that the Metropolitan Police had things locked down tight. Having been schooled in the dark arts of urban control from their earliest recruiting days at Hendon, every copper knows that controlling the streets is central to the job of nation’s finest.


Making its charismatic presence felt to that end was this heavy duty beast. The met owns three of these ‘Guardian’ vehicles, which are heavily armoured special constructions produced by Jankel in Surrey – based on Ford’s F450 Superduty chassis. The beast is pictured here stoically burbling with not a little menace, outside the much maligned masonry of the Bank of England. According to police press releases, the Guardian boasts a 6 litre, 325 BHP engine, a raft of electronic surveillance equipment and is practically blast proof. This is no Chelsea tractor. This is a Tottenham Tank.

Contrast the riot-quelling potency of The Guardian with this pathetic little excuse for a practical joke played on the Met by the demonstrators themselves. Around a dozen, very callow protestors found themselves arrested and their vehicle impounded when the bright sparks, in ebay-bought riot gear, tried to roll through Bishopsgate in the middle of the city of London loaded up in this six wheeled Alvis Saracen.


But taking the props from revheads from the crowd over the whole period of the London summit was, of course, Barack Obama’s much publicised Cadillac built beast known as Limo One. As well as being equipped with rocket propelled grenades and a full raft of bullet and blast proof armour and glass, it has a new type of roll-flat tyres which can allow the car to drive at up to 60 MPH after blowouts to all four boots. Handy.


But despite the level of bling designed into this presidential ride, it seems the even the President’s men can’t pull off a proper three-point turn in the confines of Downing Street. It’s somehow comforting to know that even the Kings of the Universe are constrained by the realities of urban planning.