HC Deb 15 February 1961 vol 634 cc1382-3
12. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Postmaster-General how many cases of wilful damage to telephone kiosks in the Borough of Leyton were reported in 1960, compared with 1959; and what research has taken place into the possibility of attaching a device to telephone apparatus that would cause a bell to ring loudly when the apparatus or cables are violently treated.

Mr. Bevins

I am sorry that separate figures for Leyton are not available. For the London Telecommunications Region as a whole, however, the figures are 5,400 in 1959, and nearly 10,000 in 1960. The suggestion of an alarm bell was examined last year as the hon. Member knows, but it was decided not to adopt it. In view, however, of the increase in vandalism I am now re-examining the matter.

Mr. Sorensen

Since fire alarms and burglar alarms on premises are relatively effective, might not the same device very well be attached to the doors of telephone kiosks? In view of what he says, can I hope that he will see his way to adopting the device?

Mr. Bevins

The hon. Gentleman can certainly have hope that we shall adopt the device, but so far the best device we have been able to work out is one which, like the installation itself, may be subject to wilful damage.

Mr. Mason

Will not the Postmaster-General agree that many kiosks are old and out of date and that many new innovations, such as my hon. Friend has mentioned, should be introduced? Is he not aware that a new design was announced to the House as long ago as December, 1958? He approved the prototype several months ago and six were supposed to be coming into public use directly, but after a lapse of two years we have not seen one produced?

Mr. Bevins

I will willingly show the hon. Gentleman the prototype we have in mind, but we are not ready to put it into general use.