British police forces have replaced some BMW vehicles and imposed speed restrictions on others amid safety concerns raised over a “technical” fault that affects certain older engines. The new guidance comes after the death of an officer in a car fire in 2020.
Police using BMW models with an N57 engine have been ordered not to exceed 90 mph (144 kph) even while responding to emergency calls and during high-speed car chases, media outlets reported. Officers have also been prohibited from going more than 20 mph (32 kph) over the speed limit on any road.
The decision has been criticized by officers – the high-powered vehicles are typically used by traffic and armed response units – who claim the forced slowdown will “hand the keys to the criminals,” according to The Sun. The paper reported that breaking the new rule is a potentially fireable offense.
Forces in Northumbria, Hertfordshire, and Cumbria are among those that have replaced the cars. BMW said on Wednesday that the issue was a “technical matter linked to a small number of special high-performance vehicles” and did not merit “action on any civilian vehicles.”