FORMER bobbies will be on parade for a get together marking 40 years of the old Bradford City Police force.

Yorkshire Ripper detective Andy Laptew is among the former officers expected to attend the grand reunion. Local rugby league hero Brian Noble, a beat bobby in Bradford for 17 years, has also been invited.

Alf Roper, who served as a Bradford police officer for 33 years, is helping to organise the event, which is due to take place at the Bradford Bulls stadium on October 19.

"It is our first reunion for five years and it could be the last," said Mr Roper, 67, of Wyke.

"It is a special event because it marks the 40th anniversary of the disbanding of Bradford City Police and its amalgamation into West Yorkshire Police.

"It will be informal, a chance for a bunch of ex-bobbies to get together and reminisce and have a laugh and a joke."

Mr Roper joined the City of Bradford Police as a cadet in 1963 and worked throughout the district, part of it in the traffic department until his retirement in 1996. He spent a number of years based at the old police station in City Hall, which has just been turned into a police museum.

He said: "I used to be sent out on patrol at ten o'clock at night, on my own, and with a piece of wood and a whistle in my pocket for protection. If I got into trouble, I would fish my whistle out of my pocket and blow it and the cavalry was supposed to arrive - at least that was the theory!

"In those days, violent crime wasn't what it is now. Assaulting a police officer was a very serious matter."

Former members of Bradford City Police had their first reunion five years after it was disbanded and have met up regularly since.

But Mr Roper said: "We get less and less people each time. Some have passed away and others have moved away from the area and lost touch.

"But we still got nearly 200 people at the last reunion and we hope for a good turnout again. Some travel from as far away as Australia.

"The youngest any member could be is 59 and our oldest member died this year at the age of 94.

"This year's reunion is more significant because it is 40 years. It could be the last one, but it would be nice to think we could have a 50th anniversary reunion."

Anyone who wishes to attend should contact Mick Hollen on (01274) 670472.