The Northern Constabulary was the territorial police force responsible for Northern Scotland from 1975 until this year. It was the agency responsibly for covering the largest geographical area in the UK, equivalent to the size of Belgium, but was one of the smallest in terms of officers, with about 715 personnel.

Flickr user Dave Conner got some slides showcasing the fleet of this adventurous bunch:

At the outset in May 1975, at the creation of Northern Constabulary, there was no definitive livery set in respect of the force’s marked vehicle fleet.

PERIOD 1 (1975-1980) plain era (CC: Henderson)
Traffic patrol vehicles, and - over time – various other vehicles most likely to patrol major roads and/or attend incidents thereon, were fitted with a broad reflective orange stripe, edged with blue tape. Other GP (= General Purpose) vehicles were plain white (or also in the case of some vans - blue, whether navy, royal or light according to what were available for purchase). A white on blue plate, or blue reflective lettering (red on rear) was applied to the front and rear of all vehicles. All marked vehicles had only a single blue rotating beacon at that time, unless twin-beacons came as part of a roof box.

PERIOD 2 (1980-1995) roundel era (CC: Henderson/MacMillan)
During 1979 Superintendent George Henderson designed a Force Badge, which was taken into use at the beginning of 1980. As well as use as epaulette insignia and on official stationery, the circular design was printed in black on white reflective material and applied to the driver’s and front passenger doors of all marked vehicles in the Force. Traffic and other “trunk road” vehicles continued to bear the orange stripe along their length. The first issue decal was of 12 inch diameter and was intended to be sited right in the centre of the door panel. As vehicle design evolved however , and door/wing protective strips became part and parcel of vehicles, so it was found that the large door decal could no longer be fitted appropriately without cutting the design. Accordingly a revised version of the decal was produced, of 8 inch diameter, and would if necessary be applied over the orange reflective stripe to ensure the decal was proud of the door protective strip.

Ford Escort Dog Van first registered September 1981 with PC Gall and K9. believed at Fort William circa 1982. (The roundel on the door is just visible behind the officer).


Ford Escort 1.3 A88RAS on the beach at Island of Barra circa 1985.

"Photograph taken circa summer of 1985 or thereabouts, when I was on one of many relief duties on the isle of Barra, Western Isles. It shows the Ford Escort 1.3 beat car we had at the time and the photo is taken at Barra Airport."


Morris/BL Ital van (first registered September 1981)- FORT WILLIAM circa 1982.

FORT WILLIAM Police Station front car park circa 1982. (I can't ever recall it being so empty!!)


FORT WILLIAM police Station circa 1982. Vehicle registration mark is EAS ??? X (First registered circa October 1981)

The FORT WILLIAM area circa 1985. B32UST was first registered on 1st February 1985.


Land Rover (first registered July 1982 - and possibly written off in 1987 as unlicensed since then) believed on A82 near Fort William circa 1983.

Range Rover (first registered May 1980) believed on A82 near Fort William circa 1983. Note it is one of earliest vehicles in the force to be fitted with a lightbar.


The Brora Section Range Rover (Tango 24) which was worked hard in the winters on snow patrol of the Ord of Caithness, borth of Helmsdale. It was amazing in the snow - nothing to beat it. This would have been the second RR, provided in 1984.

An officer uses the fire extinguisher on the Snow-Trac's smouldering engine compartment on Ben Nevis in 1981 while en route to the CIC Hut to replace the radio battery.


The Snow-Trac below the Douglas Boulder and Tower Ridge on one of the battery replacement excursions in 1981.

Police officer delivering animal feed at Glencoe during bad snow in 1984.

In 1982 the force replaced the Snow Trac with a Garron – officially ‘Highland Garron’, a tracked ATV formerly marketed by James Jones & sons of Larbert, Stirlingshire – which was bright orange in colour and proudly displayed the recently-introduced Force roundel badge on both sides.


Garron in place with mountain rescue and medical equipment at Half Way Lochan on Ben Nevis duering the Ben Race on 4.9.82. It had been driven up there the previous day - much easier than MRTs having to carry all that equipment with them.


Don't forget, these great Scotsman saved lives with Lucas electronics in their cars!

Photo credit and source: Dave Conner and Wikipedia