There was a time when police boxes were a popular site on Britain’s streets, but just as Doctor Who’s time-travelling Tardis was made popular on our screens, the blue booths were phased out, the last one disappearing in 1970.
Since 1996, Earls Court station has played host to the only functioning police box in the country but now, in a bid to generate a greater police presence, Dorset Police are busy constructing their own booth to take its place in the Bournemouth suburb of Boscombe.
The new-build ‘Tardis’ has been funded by local business and will stand on Christchurch Road, regularly staffed during day-time hours by members of the force and fixed with a yellow phone for members of the public to contact Dorset Police.
And while serving an important function for Dorset residents, planners are also hoping the police box will become an “iconic landmark” creating tourism opportunities for Boscombe when the current steel framework is sprayed and becomes fully operational this spring.
Doctor Who Online editor, Sebastian Brook, confirmed the news had “excited” fans enthusiastic about visiting the Bournemouth suburb as it was “the visual image of the police box that connected with several generations” of fans of the BBC sci-fi drama.
Bournemouth East Neighbourhood Inspector, Chris Weeks, added that the police box would place an “obvious policing footrpint exactly where it was required ” after the community “voiced concerns regarding levels of crime and disorder in Boscombe precinct.”
Police boxes were originally conceived in the States and first appeared in the UK in Glasgow in 1981. 653 were in operation on London’s streets by 1953 before being phased out between 1969 and 1970.
Progress on the construction of the new Boscombe police box can be tracked using the Dorset Police Twitter account…