Nostalgia: Bobbies on the beat

EARLIER this week, the Evening News reported that dedicated police officers have been put back on the beat following a £2.6 million cash boost from the council.

Unidentified policemen speak to children while walking their beat at Wester Hailes in Edinburgh, July 1993. Picture: TSPL
Unidentified policemen speak to children while walking their beat at Wester Hailes in Edinburgh, July 1993. Picture: TSPL

Each ward across the Capital now has two named officers who will act as the “key contact” for residents.

While the reintroduction of good old-fashioned policing has been welcomed, it’s hardly groundbreaking.

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Indeed, in days of yore, the bobby on the beat was a familiar sight on the streets, but in recent years they became an endangered species because of deep cuts to police budgets.

Traffic signal duty under the instruction of Sergeant Murray in 1963. Picture: TSPL
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Older generations often reminisce about the local bobby who they all knew and trusted and was part of their community.

If, for example, as a child youwere out riding on your bicycle on the pavement and you saw a policeman, you quickly jumped off your bike and the policeman would then without doubt give you a few cautionary – though probably friendly – words of advice about your future behaviour.

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Had you been up to no good, you were probably met with the customary, “Hello, hello, what’s all this then?”

In one of our pictures, we see three police officers getting on their bikes to do their duty on a cold January day in 1984.

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Three Lothian and Borders policemen on their bikes in 1984. Picture: TSPL

In another, Sergeant Robinson phones in from a police box (remember when they didn’t sell coffee and bagels, anyone?) to headquarters at Braid Place to report on the night’s progress.

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In another picture we see two officers talking to children – are they telling them the time, or telling them off? – while walking their beat at Wester Hailes in the early 90s.

Little Angus McPherson talks to a London Metropolitan Police officer at a police recruitment drive in Princes Street Gardens Edinburgh in July 1966. Picture: TSPL