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the police siren

928 of 1160 nominations

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the police siren

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the police siren

It isn’t only in our habits of speech, and tastes in television entertainment, that we imitate American ways of doing things. Our police cars now make the same noise as theirs. The emergency siren is now the rising and falling wail, punctuated by strangulated yelps, familiar to us previously only from American cop shows like Starsky and Hutch. Not so very long ago, though, it was quite different. When the British police car wanted you to know it was coming, it barked out an imperious two-tone order to get out of the way. The alternating police siren, which can still be heard on the continent, was a melody played on two notes, just about four tones apart in the diatonic scale. It went “nur-nur, nur-nur”, as generations of small boys playing with their model police cars well knew. It was more a command than a cry of distress, and as such, seemed to accord more with the national character in times of emergency. “Stand by your beds,” it demanded, not “Run for the hills.”

NOMINATION 928 OF 1160

Your comments

The police siren showed there intent and was a unique sound.The modern siren is to bland and is heard on all police shows,from all countries so hardly unique.When you heard the old siren you seemed to be alerted.

simon hill


The best sirens in use in the Uk were the old fashioned two tone sirens (I can vouch for that). Nowadays you're very lucky to hear the original two tone siren as legislation says vehicles have to have the (new) directional sirens. Such sounds of the new sirens in the UK are the Wail, Yelp and Piercer. The wail the the long and slow tone used to draw attention to from distance away, yelp for junctions and the Piercer is the fastest tone and most alertive. The original will always be the best.
Jake Clark


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My nomination is the garden shed.

FELICITY HAGUE

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