The Press: 999

When a citizen of London hears stealthy footsteps in his pantry, finds his drawing room in flames, or stumbles over a body on the stairs, he knows precisely what to do. He picks up the nearest telephone, dials 999, and waits for help to come. For number 999 on London's exchange brings policemen, fire engines, ambulances on the run.

One morning last week when the staid London Times turned up at breakfast with these cryptic numerals above a report of the previous day's debate in Parliament, every good Londoner got the allusion. Britain's bungling,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!