Bob Cryer was a legend and institution to us fans of the Bill and dear old Uncle Bob played by Eric Richard was probably the show's finest character. Sgt Bob Cryer joined the Metropolitan Police in 1970 (the 1990 episode Start With The Whistlesaw a party thrown to mark his 20 year service) and arrived at Sun Hill sometime in late 1983 / early 1984 (he isn't in the original pilot episode, although it is possible that he is actually the character of Sergeant Bob Wilding with a new surname), possibly as a result of a recent promotion to Sergeant. Until the series introduced the rank of Inspector, he was the second highest ranking uniform officer in the station in the series. He had previously seen some sort of army service, unfortunately most of it leaving him with unpleasant memories.
He is considered by most fans of The Bill to be an institution. From the fourth series of the show he was always the last character to be seen during the images on the main credits (in series 2 and 3 his picture was followed by a shot of DI Galloway), and the first three series tended to revolve around himself and/or Galloway, with the two men appearing in every episode of the three series and always being the first two names on the closing credits.