HE SERVED the people of Oxford as a bobby on the beat for almost 30 years and became the historian of policing in the city.

Last week, surrounded by his family, friends and many ex-colleagues, former Oxford City Police officer Geoff Rose was laid to rest.

Mr Rose, who wrote the book Pictorial History of the Oxford City Police, which was publishing in 1979, passed away aged 85 after a short illness. 

The police sergeant, of Upper Road, Kennington, featured countless times in the Oxford Mail during his career from 1958 to 1987.

Family and friends paid tribute to the father, grandfather and great-grandfather, who was described as a ‘larger than life character’.

Daughter Debbie Beavon, 57, said: “He just lived for the police, he just loved it.”

Wally Cox, a former colleague of Mr Rose, added the Oxford City Police force was a ‘family’.

The chairman of the Oxford City Police Association said: “Geoff was a larger than life character, a total character. 

“He wrote the history of the association. If you ever needed anything, Geoff was definitely the man to go to.”

Mr Rose, originally from Cambridge, moved to Oxford with his late wife Joyce after joining the force in March 21, 1958, as Police Constable 147.

Mrs Beavon said: “The reason he came to Oxford was because he could not get in to the police in Cambridge – he was too short.” Sworn in as an officer at 5ft 7ins, Mr and Mrs Rose and baby son, Christopher, now 59, moved to New Hinksey.

It was the start of a career which witnessed major changes in policing, with the amalgamation of Oxford City Police and surrounding forces to create Thames Valley Police in 1968. 

Mr Rose had served in the Royal Air Force for three years prior to joining the police and was a bobby on the beat before becoming a sergeant.

During his career Mr Rose worked in control rooms, was based at TVP HQ in Kidlington and trained cadets at Eynsham Hall in the 1970s, something which daughter Debbie said he ‘absolutely loved’. 

But alongside his service to the public, Mr Rose spent much of his own time researching and gathering information to become, as former Oxford Mail journalist Anthony Wood said, ‘the honorary unpaid archivist’ of the force.

Mr Wood wrote Mr Rose’s office was ‘full of historical material’ which was a ‘glowing witness to his endeavours’.

He added: “On the staircase hangs a portrait in oils of Oxford’s first Chief Constable Superintendent Charles Head.”

Mr Rose hosted many exhibitions of Oxford’s policing history and also discovered many stories about life as a police officer when the force was formed by the Oxford Police Act of 1868.

In an article dated August 1977, Mr Rose said he felt it was his duty to compile a record of the old police force, adding he thought he’d bitten of more than he could chew after he discovered what the job entailed.

Mrs Beavon added: “You could not keep him quiet – he just lived for the police.

“He was devastated when he had to retire. He had served his 30 years, but he just loved it.

“It’s an exclusive club [Oxford City Police]. It was a really lovely turnout for the funeral. 

“They were just going back over it all. I worked for the police between 1980 and 85 and it was completely different then.”

Mrs Beavon said her father was a keen sportsman as a young man and enjoyed rowing and hockey.

She added: “In their later years mum and dad played bowls and were part of Headington Bowls club, he was actually president at one stage. He loved the countryside and walked miles with the dogs.”

After working for the Highways Agency until 65 after leaving the force, Mr Rose volunteered at the Museum of Oxford at the Town Hall until his death on September 16 at the John Radcliffe Hospital, in Headington, Oxford.

His funeral was held on Tuesday, October 3 at St Swithun’s Church, Kennington. 

Mrs Beavon said: “It was as good as it could have been. 
“He lived a full life.”