Police forces nationwide are set to trial two new high-performance Fords - the Ranger Raptor and Focus ST - with a view to them joining the police fleet.

The Ford Performance vehicles, both of which were launched this year, will be tried out by a number of police forces across the UK, with South Wales Police among the first to try out the cars. The vehicles, which have been prepared by Ford’s Special Vehicle Preparation team, in Essex, feature full Police livery with all-round emergency lights and sirens.

Ford says the Ranger Raptor, which is designed for extreme high-speed off-roading, “may prove to be the perfect tool to access some of the UK’s most rural locations”. The Raptor is expected to find employment as an off-road pursuit vehicle, and Ford says it has “more than enough to keep up with criminals making a getaway across gravel, mud and sand”.

Ford Ranger Raptor UK police car

On paper, the Ranger Raptor’s performance figures aren’t all that impressive. The 2-litre diesel engine provides a top speed of 105 mph, which makes the car slower than a mid-range VW Polo in a straight line, but it offers unparalleled off-road capability. That’s provided by Fox shock absorbers and a Baja desert race mode, as well as stronger bodywork to withstand flying rocks. Add in chunky off-road tyres, underbody protection and clever traction control, and the Raptor is capable of the sort of feats usually only seen in the Dakar Rally.

At the same time, police forces will also evaluate the Focus ST Estate for use as an on-road pursuit vehicle. That car, which comes with a 2.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine and a top speed of 155 mph, is far more suited to on-street car chases with criminals trying to evade justice.

Ford Focus ST Estate UK police car

It’s aided in that mission by much the same engine you’ll find in the 2.3-litre Mustang or the old Ford Focus RS. Unlike those models, though, it’s tuned to produce 276 bhp, as opposed to the 286 seen in the current Mustang and 345 bhp found under the bonnet of the old RS. That’s still enough for a 0-62 mph time of less than six seconds, though.

If the two newcomers are selected to enter full-time police service, they will join a long line of Ford police vehicles, which includes the Escort, Capri and Focus, as well as the Transit van. The company also has form for police vehicles in its homeland, with the Crown Victoria, F-150 Responder and Interceptor SUV all serving US police departments.

Gallery: Ford Focus ST and Ranger Raptor UK police cars