By David Millward
They could be given the power to stop cars remotely as a result of trials being carried out by the Home Office.
It has asked for companies to come up with schemes for "vehicle stopping technology" which would enable officers to stop stolen and getaway cars.
The aim is to cut the number of high speed car chases, which have led to the deaths of officers and civilians.
"If new technology can help police stop vehicles more safely and more effectively then it is right that we look at all the options carefully," the Home Office said.
"We have asked companies to propose possible electronic solutions and we will be in a position to say more once all the options have been properly tested and fully evaluated."
According to Police Review, they could include "intelligent transport systems", commercially available technology which enables owners to use a mobile phone to regain control of their cars when they are stolen.
This tracking system uses satellite navigation to locate a car, whose position is shown on a website. The car is also fitted with a receiver which can receive text messages.
Should the car be stolen the owner – or a company acting on his or her behalf – can use a text message to send instructions to the car's on-board computer.
It can switch on the headlights, sound the horn, slow the car down or – if it is stopped – immobilise it completely.
According to Police Review, officers would welcome access to the technology as an alternative to devices such as "stingers", which they currently use.
Stingers throw spikes into the path of the car, which burst the tyres.
Alan Jones of the Police Federation welcomed the Home Office initiative.
"If the police service can use technology to its benefit to improve policing and ensure it is far safer for both police officers and members of the public, then ultimately we should applaud those developments.
"But we also recognise that it is sensitive area and we need to have a proper debate and discussion about where it may go."
A spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers added. "The police service nationally is involved in pursuits which, by their very nature, involve an element of risk, on a daily basis. Safe resolution of pursuits is essential and while current methods of stopping vehicles have proven effective, we must not be complacent.
"The service is constantly looking to improve practices and research technologies which may have the potential to offer new ways of delivering front line policing in a safer, more efficient manner."Original here