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Dr Who police box makes comeback

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POLICE boxes similar in design to Dr Who's Tardis will soon reappear in Britain's town and city centres.

Lothian and Borders Police have successfully reopened three former police boxes in Edinburgh and are poised to order a significant expansion.

Ten other forces are now considering reintroducing police boxes, and the scheme is winning support from the Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers.

Until 30 years ago, the large blue boxes were a familiar sight throughout the country and some even had extensive features for the comfort of beat bobbies, including kettles and heaters.

Most could also he used by members of the public to contact the police in an emergency. But the technological revolution, including the introduction of radios and greater use of police cars, effectively made the boxes redundant by the early Seventies.

The trial reintroduction in Edinburgh has proved that the boxes still have a useful purpose serving the public, and forces throughout the country are now drawing up their own plans to bring them back.

Dan Hewitt, the corporate affairs manager for Lothian and Borders Police, said: "The police boxes have proved a tremendous success with the general public and we have plans for an expansion to other sites, as and when funds become available.

"Edinburgh's police boxes are architecturally very interesting. They were designed to fit in with the ornate and rather grand buildings around them and they were tourist attractions."

He said other forces including Leicestershire, Strathclyde, Tayside, Greater Manchester, West Midlands and Merseyside had been in touch and expressed an interest in the scheme.

Edinburgh's original fleet of more than 80 police boxes had mostly been sold off over the past decade and many have found new uses either on private premises or even as coffee shops and boutiques.

The new Edinburgh police boxes, which use original but adapted boxes, have far more functions. There is a direct link to the police through a telephone and a display panel giving information. although they could still be used by police officers to summon assistance — the original role of such boxes.

In January a revolutionary interactive computerised-graphic police officer was introduced in the box at the famous Mound in the Scottish capital.

The computerised officer can answer simple questions such as directions to tourist attractions, give the telephone numbers of local services and tell people what to do in an emergency.

The box at the Mound has had more than 80,000 "hits" in 16 months since it was reopened and has been nominated for a Design Council award. Two other boxes were installed in the city centre last year. The aim is to make it easier for the public to report a crime or make the police aware of incidents.

The Government is now interested in using the examples in Edinburgh as a blueprint for the rest of the country.

Caption: The new Edinburgh police box Includes an Interactive computerised-graphic police officer who can answer simple queries

Caption: The Tardis: back In fashion

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  • APA 6th ed.: Bamber, David (2000-02-13). Dr Who police box makes comeback. The Sunday Telegraph (England) .
  • MLA 7th ed.: Bamber, David. "Dr Who police box makes comeback." The Sunday Telegraph (England) [add city] 2000-02-13. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Bamber, David. "Dr Who police box makes comeback." The Sunday Telegraph (England), edition, sec., 2000-02-13
  • Turabian: Bamber, David. "Dr Who police box makes comeback." The Sunday Telegraph (England), 2000-02-13, section, edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Dr Who police box makes comeback | url= | work=The Sunday Telegraph (England) | pages= | date=2000-02-13 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=28 March 2023 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Dr Who police box makes comeback | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=28 March 2023}}</ref>