Robert was appointed to Durham County Constabulary on 20th November 1909 as PC 403, 3rd class constable. He was stationed at Jarrow from 2nd February 1910. On 1st July 1910 he was appointed a 2nd class PC, the on 1st December 1911 he was appointed 1st class PC and was posted to Quebec. In March 1912 he was living, with seven other constables, at the Police station at 181 High Street, Jarrow.
On 4th September 1915 he resigned from the police force to join the war effort. He enlisted into the R.A.M.C. and served throughout the war.
On 20th February 1919 he was re-admitted as six years 1st class PC 688 and was stationed again at Jarrow. He was employed for clerical duties at Jarrow from 20th March 1919 . On 23rd August 1923 he gained promotion to serjeant 66 and was posted to West Hartlepool for beat duty. On 1st December 1924 he was stationed in Felling, then from 1st October 1929 he was posted to serve at Stanhope for clerical duty. On 1st May 1933 he was stationed in Middleton in Teesdale on beat duty.
Between 8th and 25th July 1933 he was commended by the Chief Constable and magistrates in connection with the arrest of a man on a charge of larceny (money) at Barnard Castle. He retired from the police force on pension on 31st May 1943. He died in Jarrow. He was the son of William Peter and Maria Varvil (nee Catchpole), and was the husband of Ina Lamb Howes - married on 14th July 1913. They had two children. [Information researched and kindly provided by John Grainger]