It was the end of the line for the longest serving Police officer in the country last week, as PC Robert Brown took a deserved retirement after 47 years on the force. The 64-year-old clocked-on for the very last time on Friday at the Croydon police station, but had plenty of fellow officers in attendance to wish him well and send him on his way. Indeed, so well respected was the experienced 'Bobby' on the beat, he was afforded a 100-officer guard of honour on his final day when he arrived at the station.

Demonstrating his public spiritedness and perhaps reflecting the values of a bygone age, the self-effacing former officer explained his reasons for joining the force all those years ago: "I always wanted to do something like public service, looking after people.

And that is what it basically is."

During his time with the police, Bob has developed from a boy to a man in effect, joining as a young cadet in 1968 towards the end of the 'swinging sixties', a very different time to the modern age we now live in. He became a trainee constable after his 19th birthday and has not looked back since.

Croydon-born Bob could not exactly be described as a globe-trotter in terms of the places that his long career has led him to, but he has given faithful and loyal service through stints at Brent, Norbury, Addington and Sutton, before finally coming back to his hometown of Croydon. In recognition of his service to the police, he had a recent date at Buckingham Palace to receive the Police Medal from the Queen.

Bob has seen plenty of action during his career and also witnessed the changing face of the police force down through the years. He was on duty during the 1981 Brixton riot for 72 hours, assisted during the arrest of Astrid Proll of the Baader-Meinhof terrorist gang in 1978, and was also one of the officers tasked with securing the scene after the arrest of the infamous Venezuelan terrorist Carlos the Jackal in the early 1970s.

He remembers well that in his early days the standard police kit consisted of a wooden truncheon and a whistle, with life in general being far less frenetic that it is now. Basic duties involved ensuring that shops were securely locked up. Bob has noticed the change to society around him over the years, believing that violence has increased since his early days on the force.

With that extra potential for danger and injury to police officers, he has welcomed the additional equipment available to them to provide protection.

As for the future for the be-medalled Englishman, he sadly lost his wife and son to pneumonia, but plans to retire in Yorkshire to be able to spend more time with his family there. They will miss him in Croydon, as Chief Superintendent Andy Tarrant re-iterated that the station "won't be the same without Bob."