04/01/2013 09:53 EDT | Updated 06/01/2013 05:12 EDT

Gangster cars to be used by B.C. police

Police in British Columbia will soon be driving flashy vehicles that once belonged to gangsters or drug dealers to warn young people about organized crime.

The Civil Forfeiture Office is taking applications from law enforcement agencies to use seized vehicles for outreach programs.

The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit — an integrated police unit that specializes in organized crime — recently had their application approved for a seized car.

"We're hoping the vehicle, once we get it, will serve as an initial conversation point for our officers and young people around B.C.," said Sgt. Lindsay Houghton.

"The goal is youth and young adults will want to see the vehicle and that's where we'll begin to chat and educate them."

A Hummer H2 is the latest edition to the Abbotsford Police Squad. A few years ago, it was being used in the drug trade in Victoria.

Now, the black and white SUV is a neighbourhood icon, after police turned it into an outreach program on wheels displaying vivid anti-gang messages.

The program offers a two-year loan to police departments, after which they can either return the car or buy it.