Jam sandwich (police car)

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A Metropolitan Police Service "jam sandwich". The vehicles were removed from service many years ago.
An old BMW 3 Series in jam-sandwich livery, previously used by the Met.

In British slang, a "jam sandwich" or "jam butty" is a police car.

The term came into common use in the 1970s, when such cars changed from the traditional blue and white colour scheme to white with a broad fluorescent orange stripe along the side. This colour scheme is reminiscent of jam sandwiched between two slices of white bread, hence the name. The slang was popularised on TV shows such as The Bill, The Sweeney and Minder; as well as spreading through the use of CB radio. It is still in common use, although increasingly police cars use Battenburg markings.

In November 2012, London's Metropolitan Police Service began to replace the liveries of its marked vehicles from the 'Jam Sandwich' style to Battenburg markings,[1] in line with other police forces' marked police vehicles. In the Metropolitan Police Service, the term 'Jam Sandwich' now refers not to a car with a specific role, but to the car's livery only. Most jam sandwich-liveried vehicles are the remaining older models of police vehicles that have not yet been replaced, and public order carriers.


  1. ^ Jacobs, Luke (19 November 2012). "Met Police cars to adopt Battenburg style livery". London24. Archived from the original on 1 May 2016. Retrieved 24 July 2017.

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