Leicestershire’s top police officer will step down in the spring

He is the UK’s longest-serving chief constable

Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 4:05 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 4:06 pm
Leicestershire’s top police officer Simon Cole, the UK’s longest-serving chief constable, is to step down in the spring.

Leicestershire’s top police officer Simon Cole, the UK’s longest-serving chief constable, is to step down in the spring.

The county’s highest-ranking officer, who lives in Harborough district, is to retire after heading up Leicestershire Police for 12 years.

“It has been a great honour to lead Leicestershire Police since 2010 and serve the communities in which I grew up.

“I am proud to have served with officers, staff and volunteers who give so much every day.

“I would like to thank my colleagues for their tireless dedication, commitment and professionalism.

“Every day for more than a decade their unstoppable acts of bravery, compassion and determination have motivated me,” said Leicestershire-born and bred Mr Cole today.

“They have reminded me daily why I became a police officer and the positive difference it makes.

“It has been a privilege to lead this force in such a vibrant city and two stunningly beautiful counties.

“In particular, I am proud to have been able to strengthen Leicestershire Police by making it more representative of the people and communities we serve.

“I know that commitment and hard work will continue.

“In my time as Chief Constable I have seen and experienced the full breadth of what policing is expected to do (and the unexpected too!) - from Covid lockdowns and high-profile emergency incidents, to Premier League celebrations and even the re-interment of a medieval king.

“Throughout, however, I have been happiest when I’ve seen how the force has delivered good service to the public and built trust in neighbourhoods and communities,” insisted Mr Cole.

“Whether it’s been safeguarding young people, tackling complex investigations, bringing county lines gangs and domestic abusers to justice, or just having a chat over a samosa or a pork pie at a local event.

“I have been fortunate to work with the Police Authority and three different Police and Crime Commissioners.

“The force on my watch has worked tirelessly and collaboratively with partners in the city and two counties to tackle shared problems.

“I would like to thank the countless organisations, community groups and individuals who have welcomed me, given me advice, and made each working day an opportunity to learn, reflect, and be able to make a difference.

“The force is in good shape financially and operationally.

“During recent years, Leicestershire Police has been assessed as ‘good’ by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) and this is something I am immensely proud of.

“I look forward to the results of our recent inspection.

“Finally, I would like to thank my family for supporting me on this wonderful, demanding journey,” said Mr Cole.

“Policing has asked much of them, too, and I am impossibly grateful.

“My 33 years of service feels as though it has passed in the blink of an eye, not least because new challenges, new ideas and new people have made every day different.

“But what has remained constant for me has been a focus on people and teamwork.

“I hope my time as Chief has made those priorities, so fundamental to policing, clear and felt by the people of Leicestershire and Rutland.

“With that in mind, I have chosen to hand over the armband of my team this spring, proud of my service and what Leicestershire Police continues to achieve.

“I am extraordinarily grateful to all those who have supported me in policing - and to all those who choose to make a career in it.

“It is brilliant.

“It is tough.

“And it is of a value and importance almost immeasurable.

“My work will continue until a successor is appointed.”

Saluting Mr Cole, Leicestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Rupert Matthews said: “On behalf of the residents of our city and two counties, I would like to formally thank the Chief Constable for 12 years of exceptional service.

“His commitment has, throughout that period, been unswerving and we live in a safer place thanks to his leadership.”

Mr Matthews will now launch a recruitment process to appoint a new chief constable.

Mr Cole grew up in Leicestershire before joining West Midlands Police in 1988, working in a range of uniform and detective roles.

He completed the Strategic Command Course in 2001 and joined Hampshire Police as Assistant Chief Constable in September 2003.

After his promotion to Deputy Chief Constable in 2008, Mr Cole led on strategic change, planning, performance, professional standards, and Information and Communications Technology.

He returned to his native Leicestershire to become the force’s chief constable in 2010.

Mr Cole leads nationally on the digital public contact programme, providing online services to the public across England and Wales.

He also leads on Prevent, language services and uniform.

Mr Cole was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in the New Year’s Honours in 2014 and the Sir Robert Peel medal for problem-solving policing from Cambridge University in 2021.