It’s hard to imagine Australian police without their full-size Holden Commodore or Ford Falcon V8 cruisers, but one branch of the Australian police, in the Sydney suburb of Leichhardt, have gone to the absolute other extreme with a Fiat 500 JTD turbodiesel, the most economical car on the market there, now serving as a police car.

But do not expect any highly economical police chases through the streets of Sydney. With New Zealand-born constable Tui Ormsby at the wheel, the 500 is used to solve crime and prevent road accidents before they happen by attracting attention to public education programmes run by the police.

“When it comes to visibility, the 500 has proven to be an exceptional car, attracting attention and interest like no other car we have used,” said superintendent Wayne Cox, the Leichhardt local area commander.

“With its primary role as providing a talking point from which we can discuss road safety and break down any barriers that may exist, the Fiat Bambino police car has attracted interest from all areas and all age groups.

“Despite being marked up as a police vehicle, we don’t use the Fiat for normal police work,” added Cox.

“The Fiat is used for community policing, it’s a great way of building rapport between young people and police and certainly helps us get our safe driving messages through to car enthusiasts.”

“The Fiat frees up normal police cars so they can be out on the roads,” Cox said.

The vehicle will also be used for community policing by the crime management team at Leichhardt and will be seen shopping centres, schools and fetes and at community events and festivals.