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Bob Cryer
Sgt. Bob Cryer

Sgt. Bob Cryer

Full Name: Robert Cryer
Nickname(s): Bob, Uncle Bob, Bobby
IC: Gender
1Male   Male
Occupation: Police Officer
Affiliation: Metropolitan Police
Curr. Posting: Sun Hill
Curr. Rank: Sergeant
Curr. Call Sign: 92
Epaulette No.Occ. Status
●  Service Record  ●
Portrayed by:Eric Richard
 ● First Appearance: Funny Ol' Business - Cops & Robbers
 ● Last Appearance: Hitting Home
List of Appearances

Sergeant Bob Cryer was a character in The Bill from 1984 until 2001.


Bob Cryer was born in 1947. This makes him 37 years old when the series began, 54 when forcibly retired in 2001, and 57 when he last appeared in 2004.

He joined the Metropolitan Police in 1970 (he celebrates his 20 year service in the 1990 episode "One For The Road") at the age of 23, after having gone through some kind of army service. The army didn't agree with Cryer, and he still harboured a great deal of angst about his time there whenever his path crossed with army soldiers during his police life. One thing which may also have come out of this was an aversion to firearms. While he was a fully licensed firearms officer, Cryer felt very uneasy handling them, something which only became worse when he shot somebody in a hostage situation who it turned out was technically unarmed (the villain's weapon was not loaded at the time). Cryer was cleared of any responsibility, but continued to kick himself for it. This aversion to weapons would turn out to be ironic, given his exit from the police service was after being accidentally shot by his protégé, PC Dale Smith.

Married to wife Shirley and with two children, Cryer was a very moral upstanding officer very much in the Dixon of Dock Green mould (if you ignore his affair with Tom Penny's wife ... ). He was the father to the relief, whose advice and knowledge were always gratefully accepted by those under his command (with the notable exception of PC Francis Edwards, whom Cryer saw as a lazy useless officer, and who in turn saw Cryer as a dominating bossy figure). Cryer's position in the station was also highly respected by the senior management: Chief Superintendent Brownlow saw him very much as a firm hand at the wheel. Cryer turned down all thoughts promotion beyond the rank of Sergeant, though, with a short stint as a plain clothes officer further convincing him that he belonged very definitely in uniform, at the sharp end of policing.

He held a close friendship with many of his early colleagues. Sergeants Cryer, Tom Penny and Alec Peters were a very close knit team both professionally and privately. He also had a kinship with Detective Inspector Roy Galloway, with the two men often clashing over the methods of the maverick CID officer, but both shared a mutual respect which meant that Galloway would not confide to anyone other than Cryer over a beer at the pub after work. Indeed, officers of all ranks including Inspector Monroe, Chief Inspector Conway and even Chief Superintendent Brownlow would all confide in Cryer at one time or another.

Cryer had a less illustrious history with DS, later DI, Frank Burnside, something which would cause a certain amount of conflict when the DS took the top job after Galloway's departure. He felt Burnside was a bent copper, convinced that he had slimed his way past Operation Countryman (an initiative in the late 1970s designed to root out corrupt officers). Cryer had to eat a certain amount of humble pie when he discovered that Burnside had actually been a crucial operative of Operation Countryman, whose play-acting in the field of duty had led to him adopting something of an undeserved reputation. Cryer hit a bump a few years after his transfer to Sun Hill when his son, Patrick, was involved in a traffic accident. Patrick was the driver of a car that was found sunk in the canal, its occupants dead. Cryer's relationship with his son was frosty from that point on. Some say he never truly recovered from it, and he found it difficult to deal with similar dispirited youths in the execution of his duties.

Cryer's approach to policing remained steadfastly old-fashioned, even as the service began to evolve around him. In 1995 he almost had a serious complaint entered into his record when his firm-but-fair approach was interpreted by a local shopkeeper as racism, but Cryer remained convinced that political correctness was getting in the way of the ultimate aim, which was to remain broadly dispassionate about the cases that officers work on and to get on with establishing the facts rather than taking sides. Cryer felt that by singling out different groups within the community for special treatment, the larger issues were often being overlooked.

As time wore on, Cryer's colleagues fell by the wayside. Penny retired after being found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol and Peters was promoted to a largely desk-bound role before quietly leaving the force. Burnside moved on to pastures new. Cryer became something of an anachronism, becoming less tolerant of what he seen as the stupid mistakes of younger and less experienced officers. One example might be PC Nick Klein, who Cryer thought was far more interested in his sideline as a DJ rather than having any real instincts for doing his job as a cop. Another was DC Mickey Webb, who Cryer took an immediate dislike to, seeing the fresh faced young CID officer as a layabout who didn't even have enough respect for the job to tuck in his shirt, let alone to go out and investigate crimes on the manor. Cryer found himself a lone voice, told by his superiors that "times have changed", and "we can't expect today's officers to be all work and no play". He found it difficult to move with the times - he once commented, when Ackland jokingly asked why Cryer would never use the computer, that "I'm perfectly happy with the quill and parchment, thank you very much". He never really lost what it meant to be on the sharp end of policing, but as the nature of The Job changed Cryer remained determined not to lose his principals.

After the departure of Chief Superintendent Charles Brownlow, Cryer was somewhat dismayed to be working with fresh faced young Superintendent Tom Chandler. The new broom at Sun Hill started as he meant to go on, sweeping away anything that he felt was outmoded. While Chandler's focus initially was DCI Jack Meadows, attempts to move him on proved fruitless so he began to turn on Cryer instead. It wasn't difficult to pigeonhole Cryer. Soon enough, Chandler had effectively neutered Cryer from any kind of important responsibility within the station. His intentions were clear: he wanted Cryer out, even going so far as to comment openly to other officers that he already had somebody lined up ready to take Cryer's place the moment Cryer decided to take a back seat. This younger officer was Craig Gilmore.

Cryer combated this by openly supporting PC Dale Smith in his application to SO19, encouraging the younger officer (whom Chandler also disliked) to broaden his horizions. When questioned by Inspector Monroe about his close relationship to Smithy, Cryer simply stated that he felt Smith was made of the right stuff, and that he "wanted to see a Sergeant Smith sitting in this office", which were quite prophetic words. Perhaps Cryer seen a little of his younger self in Dale Smith, as the two had both shared an army background, and Smithy's no nonsense, non-PC approach was very much like Cryer's. Ironically, after two years at SO19 Smith returned as Sergeant to replace the deceased Matt Boyden in 2003. However, Smithy accidentally shot and wounded Cryer during a hostage situation, forcing Cryer's retirement. Cryer, for his part, held no malice for Smithy; inviting him to his retirement party as a special guest. Cryer left Sun Hill as the longest serving Sergeant, with at least 17 years at Sun Hill (1984-2001).

Following his retirement, Cryer returned to Sun Hill on several occasions for the funerals of colleagues (Derek Conway & the Sun Hill fire victims and Matt Boyden), and once to help CID solve an abduction, and once to help his niece bring down Cathy Bradford, which was unsuccessful. His final ever appearance saw him investigate the hit and run death of ex-DS Ted Roach, whilst attending his funeral. He told Jack Meadows on one of these occasions that he had bought a motorcycle and planned to ride around Europe -- he just hadn't got around to telling his wife yet.

In December 2017, it was announced that actor Eric Richard has recorded a two-part interview for The Bill Podcast to be released in 2018. The first part can be heard HERE. Part Two can he heard HERE.

Service Record[]

Main article: Service Record
  • 1991 - Briefly promoted to become a plain clothes Duty Sergeant.

Family and Relationships[]

  • Wife: Shirley Cryer
  • Son: Patrick Cryer
  • Son: David Cryer (though he was never mentioned during the time Bob was at Sun Hill)
  • Niece: Robbie Cryer
  • Nephew: Philip

Major Storylines[]

  • 1991 - Promoted to become a plain clothes Duty Sergeant.
  • 2000/2001- The Don Beech scandal, and the arrival of Tom Chandler, who makes no secret of wanting Bob Cryer pensioned off.

Preceded by:
Sun Hill Sergeant
1984 - 2001
Succeeded by:
Sgt. Craig Gilmore