That is your current pursuits heat meter (wanted level
) which starts at level 1 and goes up to level 5 if you do a pursuit for 8 minutes or maybe it is 3 now? AND evade them. It resets to 1 when you get busted.
In team escape, the heat level is pre-set and does not affect your personal heat level.
There has been a recurring bug where your heat level resets to 1 even though you evaded but I think that is not a problem at the moment. Another bug related to pursuits is where you evade but the server thinks you got busted and takes cash away. There are some others but can't remember now
Refer to here for more information....
NFSW Wiki - Police
and here for more info on the new pursuit events...
NFSW Wiki - Pursuit Outrun