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Polis box

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Polis box in Glesga Museum o Transport

The Polis box is a public phone box for the uise o members o the polis, or for members o the public tae contact the polis. It wis introduced in the United States in 1877 an wis uised in the United Kinrick throughout the 20t century frae the early 1920s[1]. Unlik an ordinary callbox, its telephone wis locatit behind a hinged door sae it coud be uised frae the ootside, an the interior o the box wis, in effect, a miniature police station for uise bi police officers tae read an fill in reports, tak meal breaks an even temporarily haud prisoners until the arrival o transport.

Police boxes predate the era o mobile telecommunications; nou members o the Breetish police cairy twa-wey radios an/or mobile phones rather than relying on fixed kiosks.[2]:2 Most boxes are nou disuised or hae been withdrawn frae service.

The teepical police box contained a telephone linked directly tae the local police station, allouin patrolling officers tae keep in contact wi the station, reporting anything unusual or requesting help if necessar. A licht on tap o the box wad flash tae alert an officer that he/she wis requested tae contact the station.:2 Members o the public coud an aw uise the phone tae contact a police station in an emergency or, in the case o the Metropolitan Police, for assistance wi ony matter normally within the purview o the police.:2

Police boxes war uisually blue, wi the maist notable exception bein Glesga, whaur thay war reid until the late 1960s.:13 In addition tae a telephone, thay contained equipment sic as an incident beuk, a fire extinguisher an a first aid kit.:14

The blue police box is eften associated wi the science fiction telly programme Doctor Who, in which the protagonist's time machine, a TARDIS, is in the shape o a 1960s Breetish police box.


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  1. "Archived copy". Archived frae the original on 12 Juin 2016. Retrieved 8 Mey 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. The Police Signal Box: A 100 Year History.