Meet Britain's longest serving policeman

Bobby on the beat?

Not any more, sadly. PC Robert Brown has retired after 47 years, making him the longest serving police officer in the country.

A stellar career

It was indeed. As the 64-year-old clocked in for his final shift yesterday, Bob was met by a 100-officer guard of honour at Croydon police station. “I always wanted to do something like public service, looking after people. And that is what it basically is.”

He joined as a cadet in 1968 and became a trainee constable the day after his 19th birthday. The Croydon-born officer served at Brent, Norbury, Addington and Sutton before ending his career in his hometown. Last week, the Queen awarded him the Police Medal at Buckingham Palace.

Cleaned up many streets?

Just a few. PC Brown was on duty for 72 hours during the 1981 Brixton riot. He aided in the arrest of Astrid Proll of the terrorist gang Baader-Meinhof in 1978, and helped secure the scene following the arrest of Carlos the Jackal in 1973.

Bet he’s seen a few changes.

Yes: the evolution of policing. PC Brown began his career with a wooden truncheon and whistle. “It was a quieter pace of life. It actually was checking shops to see they were locked and things like that.” He said there is more violence now. “I think police officers need to be protected more… but the equipment’s better than it used to be,” he added.

What’s next?

PC Brown, whose wife and son died of pneumonia, will retire in Yorkshire to spend time with his family. Chief Superintendent Andy Tarrant said: “Croydon police station won’t be the same without Bob.”

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