Pc quitting after 47 years on beat
He started out in the era of TV shows such as Dixon Of Dock Green, Z Cars and Special Branch.
Now, after 47 years protecting the communities of London, the country's longest serving police officer is finally hanging up his helmet and truncheon.
Pc Robert Brown was met by an honour guard of around 100 officers and colleagues, proud family and appreciative community members as he clocked in for his final day of work at Croydon police station.
The 64-year-old was accompanied by two of the Met's white Sovereign Escort horses as he arrived amid cheers and applause for his last shift in a vintage Morris Minor panda car - the classic British car used by the police when Pc Brown started out as an officer in the late 1960s.
A towering officer of well over 6ft, he stopped to shake the hand of every officer who came out to recognise him, defying the slight limp age has left him with.
Born in Croydon in 1950 - the London borough where today he ended his career - Pc Brown joined the Metropolitan Police as a paid police cadet in 1968.
He signed up as a trainee constable a day after his 19th birthday on February 17 1969 and spent 13 weeks at the Met's training school in Hendon.
Over the years he served at stations in Brent, Norbury, Addington and Sutton, before joining Croydon in the late 1990s.
Pc Brown followed a friend into the police after growing tired of another job.
"I always wanted to do something like public service, looking after people," he said.
"And that is what it basically is. Sometimes it's arresting them but other times it's protecting people, looking after them, and that is what I wanted to do. I have been quite content to do that."
Policing has changed enormously in the years since he started out.
At his first posting, to West Hampstead - which lasted 15 years - Pc Brown walked the beat with little more than a wooden truncheon and whistle.
"It was quieter. We didn't always have radios, no panda cars - it was more or less coming on from Dixon Of Dock Green, where you had a whistle, a truncheon, a police box to go into to make calls to the station to say you were safe and pick up your calls from.
"If it was an emergency call they used to flash the light on top to get people to go to the box to answer it - that's what it was all about.
"It was a quieter pace of life. You went out and had a particular beat to do. It actually was checking shop doorways and shops to see they were locked and things like that - that's what you did."
It wasn't long before he was tackling some of London's biggest crimes and tangling with some of the most notorious names in the criminal underworld.
In 1973 Pc Brown was one of the first officers on the scene when Venezuelan terrorist Carlos the Jackal shot Jewish businessman and then-Marks & Spencer boss Joseph Sieff.
He said: "Other units had been there first. They did the right thing and whisked the man who was shot down to the hospital. I was there just after it happened and secured the scene."
Five years later he supported the Met's Special Branch during the arrest of Astrid Proll, a member of revolutionary terrorists the Baader-Meinhof gang, or the Red Army Faction.
Pc Brown was also on duty during the first Brixton riot in 1981, facing bricks, bottles and burning buildings. Aside from a few short breaks he worked for three whole days as he and his fellow officers struggled to keep order.
Perhaps the darkest day of his time in uniform came on February 8 1994, when he and three colleagues responded to an armed robbery at a sub-post office in New Addington.
One of them, Sergeant Derek Robertson, was stabbed. Pc Brown gave him first aid and watched on desperately as medics tried to save his life, but their efforts were in vain.
The job has changed almost beyond recognition since he walked his first beat in 1969.
"It has had to evolve because society has changed, hasn't it," he said.
"There's a certain amount of more violence. I think police officers need to be protected more and they are protected more, and the equipment's better than it used to be.
"When I stopped working on the streets I was wearing body armour, I was carrying an asp, I had CS gas and everything else, and that's just been brought about because of the amount of violence we are having to face sometimes."
Pc Brown's dedication to keeping the capital safe was recognised last week when he was awarded the Queen's Police Medal at Buckingham Palace, one of the highest honours bestowed on the police.
His sister Patricia Brown and his nephew, also Robert Brown, were there for his special day and were at Croydon today to watch him enjoy the plaudits of his friends and colleagues.
Mr Brown said: "It is nothing more than he deserves. He wouldn't have wanted all this but it is just amazing. We are immensely proud of him."
Mrs Brown added: "I can't find the words, really. Our mother was so proud, and had photos of him on the wall and used to tell people, 'that's my Bobby up there'."
Among those thanking him for his tireless efforts was Chief Superintendent Andy Tarrant, Croydon's borough commander.
"For me Bob is the epitome of a good police officer, someone who wanted to serve as long as possible on the front line, and he is an ideal role model to younger serving officers.
"I spoke to an officer recently with 30 years service who dealt with an incident with Bob over the last couple of weeks, and they said they learned something from how Bob dealt with it.
"The fact that Bob could show a really experienced officer how something could be dealt with really pays testament to him.
"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."
Now, after a career spanning six decades, he has served the people of London for his last time.
He plans to leave the capital in his retirement and move to Yorkshire, to spend more time with his family - especially important after his wife Renee died last year, followed by his son Lee last month from pneumonia.
But he will not be tempted to extend the long of the law after packing away his uniform for the last time.
"The only extending I am going to do is towards a pint of beer," he joked.
"It is time to go. My job has run it's course and it's time to go to on to pastures new. I didn't want to stay on any longer and I think I've done what I wanted to do. It's time to do something different."
And what advice would he pass on to those young recruits following in his footsteps today?
"Listen to people, go with the training, don't always assume that something facing you is the whole story, and ask people what's really going on before you make any decisions.
"And just be patient - you have got to have a lot patience, because you are called names, and the names don't really mean anything.
"It's all about people, about their problems, and you try and just help them the best you can. That's what I've tried to do all my service, and try and remain cheerful and polite."