Motherwell & Wishaw Burgh Police – First Beat car
On the 15th of January 1939, Motherwell & Wishaw Burgh Police introduced a mobile patrol vehicle for the first time. The car was called a ‘Beat’ car and had the words ‘Police Patrol’ painted on the sides. It was to be driven by a police constable in uniform.
The car was a 10 horsepower Ford tourer, similar to the one shown in this photograph –
The car was introduced to assist with the policing of the outlying areas of the Burgh. The Burgh was expanding rapidly with new housing developments being built and the extension of the Burgh boundaries at the end of 1938.
The patrol was designed to keep down ‘manpower’ in the force, which at that time was operating with a ratio of one officer to 900 people. The cost of each Constable was approximately £300 per annum with the cost of a vehicle, to replaced annually, being £150.
The car was to cover an extensive area to include:
• North Lodge
• Dalzell policies
And other areas within the Burgh boundaries where new housing was being erected.
The car was to increase visibility and make more regular patrols in these areas. Members of the public were urged to stop the car and report any crimes. Lost or found property or other complaints to the officer. This would save the public from walking or travelling to the nearest police station.
The vehicle was not equipped with radio. The officer driving the vehicle was to maintain hourly telephone contact with Headquarters to update them on his activities.
The local newspaper reported that officers would be freed from other duties and placed near the town centre, where they could patrol and supervise at crossings. If the scheme was successful, further vehicles would be added to the fleet.
Chief Constable Lamont stated “The people resident in the ‘outposts’ of the town, should take full advantage of the opportunities afforded by the greater and quicker work of the car. I hope that the people, instead of conveying messages to the police station, will stop the Constables instead and give the necessary particulars to him.”
In addition to the police vehicle, the Burgh Watching and Lighting committee agreed to increase the number of Police call boxes from 21 to 30. This was to increase the ability of the patrol officers to maintain contact with Headquarters and eliminate the requirement for radio equipment in the vehicle.
Motherwell Police Box – 1930’s