Communications

Means of communication are another matter of vital importance to the police. At first the only means of communication were the post, the newly invented electric telegraph, and delivery by messenger. All three methods were utilised, but it was the invention of the telephone that offered the first really speedy means of communication between stations.The first telephone was installed at Aston Police Station in 1883 but it was not until the turn of the century that all divisional headquarters were on the phone. As time went on more stations were connected up and by the mid 1930’s most police stations in the county were on the phone.

Just before the outbreak of war in 1939 a private line telephone system was installed, giving communication between headquarters, divisions, sub-divisions, sections and surrounding forces. This system has proved to be of the utmost value.

The final and by far the most spectacular method of communication taken into use by the police is, of course, radio. This came into use in Warwickshire at the beginning of 1951 with the establishment of a central control at headquarters, and the fitting of two-way wireless equipment on patrol cars. Today there are 34 such mobile stations. The County Fire Service also make use of the police wireless system, with their own control at county fire brigade headquarters and a number of mobile stations. The coming of wireless has in many ways completely altered the conception of police work in both town and county districts. The ‘999’ system gives members of the public requiring police assistance immediate communication with control at police headquarters, from whence the nearest wireless car is directed to where it is wanted. In most cases a wireless car can be sent to arrive at any given spot in the county within a few minutes of the alarm being given, a far cry from a hundred or even fifty years ago when both the person requiring assistance and the police officer, when found, had to travel on foot.

One hundred years ago members of the force had virtually no mechanical aids to assist them in their work. Today every advantage is taken of all types of equipment from typewriters, which are possessed by most members of the force, to the latest types of cameras and scientific devices.