Shaw Taylor pioneered the use of the public to help solve crimes by contacting the programme, which he fronted from its launch in 1962. He was 90 and died at his home in Totland, on the Isle of Wight, on Wednesday, with his partner Shirley Ferrari by his side.
Mr Taylor became famous on the programme with his catchphrase “keep ’em peeled”.
His friend John Hannam, of Isle of Wight Radio, met him 20 years ago when he moved to the island.
Mr Hannam said, “He loved his catchphrase being thrown back at him. He loved it if people called out in the street, he was in his element. He was one of the true gents of the industry, it was a privilege to know him.”
During his later years, the presenter was a keen supporter of local charities and helped save the Isle of Wight’s popular Shanklin Theatre from closure.
Peter Coleman, chairman of the friends of the theatre, said Mr Taylor played a “key role” in saving the venue and would be sorely missed.
Born Eric Taylor in the East End of London, he served in the RAF and later trained at the prestigious Rada acting school.
He acted for a spell on stage in the West End before becoming a TV and radio presenter. It was as the popular host of the crime-solving show Police 5 that he became best known and he was made an MBE in 1986.
He is survived by his son, Richard, and by his partner, Ms Ferrari.