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Scotland Yard is the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police in London. Scotland Yard is situated on the Thames Embankment close to the Houses of Parliament and the familiar clock tower of Big Ben, and its jurisdiction extends over 740 square miles with the exception of the ancient City of London, which possesses its own separate police Force.
One of the most successful developments in Scotland Yard´s crime detection emergency service has been the «999 system». On receipt of a call the 999 Room operator ascertains by electronic device the po¬sition of the nearest available police car, which is contacted by radio. Almost instantly, a message is also sent by teleprinter to the police station concerned, so that within seconds of a call for assistance being received, a police car is on its way to the scene and all neighbouring police stations have been notified.
Apart from the 999 Room, one of the most interesting places in Scotland Yard is the Map Room. Here is the Central Crime Map, the Deaths by Violence Map, the Accidents Map and the Vehicles Recovered Map.
An old-established section of the Metropolitan Police is the taunted Mounted Branch, with its strength of about 200 hones stabled at strategic points. These horses are particularly suited to ceremonial occasions, for they are accustomed to military bands.
An interesting branch of Scotland Yard is the branch of Police Dogs, first used as an experiment in 1938. Now these dogs are an important put of the Force. One dog, for example, can search a warehouse in ten minutes, whereas the same search would take six men an hour.
There is also the River Police or Thames Division, which has its own crime investigation officers who handle all crimes occurring within its river boundaries.
There are two other departments of Scotland Yard — the Witness Room (known as the Rogues´ Gallery) where a photographic record of knows or suspected criminals is kept, and the Museum, which contains murder relicts, forgery exhibits and coining moulds.
The name «Scotland Yard» originates from the plot of land adjoining Whitehall Palace where, in about the 14th century, the royalty and nobility of Scotland stayed when visiting the English Court. The popular nickname of the London policeman «bobby» is a tribute to Sir Robert Peel, and whose Christian name attached itself to members of the force.
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1. What have you learnt of the Map Room in Scotland Yard?
2. What is the branch of police dogs interesting for?
3. What can you say about the Witness Room?
4. What did « Scotland Yard » take the name after?