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. 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cairy twa-wey radios an/or mobile phones rather than relying on fixed kiosks.:2 Most boxes are nou disuised or hae been withdrawn frae service.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