Police box in focus

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ONE of the few surviving former police kiosks in the country, on Scarborough’s seafront, is featured in a new book.

The Rise and Fall of the Police Box, by former police superintendent John Bunker, lists four that have “survived intact in public places” in England.

They are in Sheffield, Newtown Linford in Leicestershire, Almondbury near Huddersfield and Scarborough.

The local box weighs three tons and was embedded in its present position in 2000, when Sandside was redeveloped. It takes pride of place on the book cover.

The Doctor Who Tardis is all that most people know about the police box, which has an interesting history. Developed in the USA in the 1880s, they were introduced in Britain in London, Glasgow and Liverpool before the end of the century. The heyday for the police box was between the 1920s and 1960s when a large proportion of the many police forces that existed introduced some form of communication from the street for both police officers and the public to use. The dying days of the police box after 1960 show the lasting interest there has been in this abandoned method of policing, with museums always keen to acquire a retired box for display. The Rise and Fall of the Police Box is a meticulously researched and illustrated book by a retired superintendent of London’s Metropolitan Police.

The boxes were an important part of Mr Bunker’s day-to-day duties as a young constable in London in the 1950s and 60s.