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The Lenco BearCat doesn't require a special licence to operate. ((Ottawa Police Service))

Ottawa police have added an armoured truck to their fleet of vehicles.

The grey Lenco G3 BearCat equipped with red, white and blue lights and emblazoned with the word "police" will be used by the tactical unit, Ottawa police announced Wednesday. The truck features a bucket-like observation post on its roof.

Canadian police forces that have armoured vehicles

  • Calgary
  • Durham
  • Edmonton
  • Hamilton
  • Peel
  • Sault Ste. Marie
  • Toronto
  • Victoria
  • B.C. RCMP (Vancouver)

The vehicle can be driven off-road and does not require a special drivers licence to operate.

Police said the vehicle will only be used by trained tactical unit officers, and not as a patrol vehicle. It is intended to help protect officers during high-risk calls such as gun calls, hostage takings, the rescue of an injured person or officer, or the execution of a warrant deemed to be high risk.

Police estimate that the tactical unit responds to about 50 incidents a year where the armoured vehicle would be an "effective tool."

Police got approval from the Police Services Board last September to buy the $341,000 vehicle from Lenco Industries, Inc., a company based in Massachusetts. It produces a version of the vehicle targeted specifically at law enforcement agencies. The vehicle has "repelled multiple attacks from assault weapons," the company's website says.

A number of police forces across the country already have armoured vehicles. The RCMP in B.C. have just rolled out two surplus tactical armoured vehicles (TAVs) that were given to them by the Canadian Armed Forces. The six-wheeled Cougars will be stationed in the Vancouver area for the emergency response team to use in dangerous situations.