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Met Police officer Robert Brown retires after 47 years

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Media captionPC Bob Brown said he was "amazed and overwhelmed" by his send-off after 47 years as a police officer

A man hailed as the country's longest-serving police officer is retiring after 47 years on the force.

PC Robert Brown, known as Bob, joined the Met as an 18-year-old in 1968.

He was involved in the Carlos the Jackal and Baader-Meinhof probes and spent three days on duty during the 1981 Brixton Riots.

He finished his career in Croydon Borough, where he was born, with colleagues forming a guard of honour for his final shift.

Truncheon and whistle

Harold Wilson was prime minster when PC Brown left the police cadets and became a trainee police constable a day after his 19th birthday on 17 February, 1969.

Equipped at first with just a wooden truncheon and whistle he spent his first 15 years working in Camden Borough.

He said: "Before the radios came out you had to ring in every two hours from a phone box and get your work and then ring them again after six hours to make sure you were safe."

He served at stations in Harrow Road, Norbury, Addington and Sutton, before joining Croydon borough in the late nineties, where he has remained since.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The veteran arrived in a vintage Morris Minor police car flanked by police horses on his last day
Image copyright Met Police
Image caption PC Brown received the Queen's Police Medal in recognition of a career spanning six decades

Speaking after his colleagues formed a guard of honour for him, he said: "I'm overwhelmed that everyone turned out today for this.

"I have always wanted to serve and help people and that's been my ethos throughout my service. I wanted to help people.

"I've always been a PC. Not everyone can be a commander. I enjoyed what I was doing.

"I will miss the people immensely but not the job. It's run its course for me."

Image caption PC Brown has policed a number of high-profile incidents including the Brixton riot in 1981

Andy Tarrant, Croydon Borough Commander, said: "We are very proud and we will be sorry to see him go, and I think this police station will be a sadder place because he is retiring.

"I'd say it is really unusual whether we will see the like of it again, I am 47 years old so for me there is that link - he joined when I was born."

Policing moments

PC Robert Brown was one of the first officers on the scene when Carlos the Jackal shot the then-Marks and Spencer boss, Joseph Sieff in 1973.

He supported the Met's Special Branch during the arrest of Astrid Proll in 1978, who was part of the notorious revolutionary terrorist group, the Baader-Meinhof gang.

In 1981, he spent almost 72 hours on duty during the Brixton riot.

In 1994, he gave first aid to Sgt Derek Robertson who died after being stabbed responding to an armed robbery in New Addington.

He has been on duty at nearly every Notting Hill Carnival, said the Met, and last Friday he received the Queen's Police Medal at Buckingham Palace in recognition of his long service.

In his retirement, Bob is planning to move to Yorkshire to spend more time with his family in the area, following the recent death of his wife Renee and his son Lee.

PC Brown's sister Patricia Brown travelled from Halifax to attend the event.

She said: "I can't believe all this is going on for my little brother. It's not just me that thinks he's special obviously."

At the Scene

Elaine Okyere, BBC News London

"What's happening?" asked one motorist as he is diverted from the street. The crowd of police officers gathered was enough to catch anyone's attention.

The road outside Croydon police station was closed to traffic as we awaited the arrival of the country's longest serving police officer for his last day on the job.

"He's going to kill us, he has no idea - we've had to tell a lot of porkies today," said Bob Jones, PC Brown's brother in law.

There was a surge of applause as a vintage Morris Minor came into view, carrying PC Brown.

He was greeted by a crowd of colleagues keen to show him how much he's given to the local area.

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