"I joined Edinburgh City Police in
January 1958 and left in mid- 1969 to emigrate to New Zealand with
my wife and children.
I was in ĎCí Division, West End.
During that period I worked all beats and Mobile Patrols of the
Division. Mostly, from early- 1960s, I worked on the 4th
Section Mobile Patrol covering everything south of Stenhouse and
Calder Roads to Juniper Green, Colinton, Oxgangs, Fairmilehead and
"In between driving duties for the
Patrol, I worked '18' Beat, Morningside, from Box 34. (Bellhaven
Terrace). It was during this time that the Sub Station at
Oxgangs Road, was opened and I was one of the first to work from
The Police Box
"People often asked what went on in a
police box. Well, it was:
a parading point
a reporting point and
a communications point (prior to personal
a place to eat onesí piece and have a cuppa.
In those days the boxes were painted
battleship grey. It was joked that the paint was war surplus from
the Royal Navy."
Inside the Box
"The Box was outfitted with:
a desk and drawer, for various report forms,
and VA Books (vehicular Accident)
a shelf, above the desk, for the Eastlight
file, holding The Chief Constable's Memos, Variation sheets,
Crime reports etc.
electric kettle, tea
pot, tin mug and a tea towel that was changed weekly when the box
cleaner did his rounds.
a sink and cold water tap.
one-bar electric fire, bolted high on the back wall. It was
of very little effect in winter.
telephone just inside the door that burred
when it rang. A light on the top of the cabinet also flashed
when the telephone rang. That could be seen outside,
especially at night.
Probably the most important item
in the box was the journal in which one had to record ones foot
patrols and any incidents that were being dealt with on route.
This was for safety and enabled you to
be found by the Sergeant or Inspector as well as safety.
Prisoners were seldom detained in the box as it was safer outside.
"When community policing came along in
1967 the boxes were seldom used. I worked from home as a
lived in Morningside, calling into Oxgangs Station to recharge my
radio batteries and get all the up to date information required."
"I had many friends in the force and
it was a sad day for me when I left. However my wife and I
felt that we could make a better life for ourselves and children
here in New Zealand, so 45 years ago we arrived here.
I never joined the police here. I
retired 18 years ago.
I must admit being a policeman was ,
in my opinion, the best job I ever had and hardly a day goes by
that I donít think about the old days."
John C White, Thames (an old gold mining town 60
miles south of Auckland)
Coromandel Peninsula. New Zealand: August 7, 2014