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Former Leicestershire chief constable found dead at home

Simon Cole was the longest serving chief officer when he retired this month

Leicestershire Police’s former chief constable has been found dead in his home two weeks after retiring from the force.

Simon Cole, 55, who was the UK’s longest serving chief constable when he retired having served 11 years as head of the force, was found at his home address in Kibworth Harcourt, Leicestershire, on Wednesday.

His death has been referred to the coroner, Leicestershire Police said. Temporary Chief Constable Rob Nixon said: “It is hard to put into words how devastating this news is for the entire force who loved and respected Simon. Our hearts go out to his family at this difficult time and we will support them as much as we can.

 “We are offering support to our staff and those who worked closely with Simon.

“I know Simon had a great impact on many of the communities of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland and his death will be a great loss to many of the people he worked with.

“All we can do is pull together and mourn the loss of a greatly respected man.”

A public book of condolence will be set up on the force’s website in the coming days.

Mr Cole grew up in Leicestershire and was educated in Market Bosworth, Northampton, Oadby and Colchester before joining West Midlands Police on a graduate entry scheme in 1988.

He joined Hampshire Police in 2003 as assistant chief constable where he led on delivering neighbourhood policing. He then became deputy chief constable in 2008 before returning to Leicestershire as chief constable in June 2010.

In 2014 he was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in the New Year Honours and was also made an honorary doctor of arts by De Montfort University.

He worked on a variety of national portfolios including heading up the Prevent programme, mental health and disability – which led to initiatives on Places of Safety, Liaison and diversion from custody.

CC Cole led nationally for the NPCC on disability issues until March 2016; focusing work on autism, accessibility and dementia.

Other national work include local and response policing, contact management/101, troubled families, vetting and crime statistics.

Mr Cole retired from the force earlier this month, with his last day as chief on March 18.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was “desperately saddened” to hear the news.

She tweeted: “He was passionate about delivering for the people of Leicestershire, the area where he grew up, and dedicated his life to policing.

“We owe an immense debt of gratitude to police officers like Simon and my thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time.”

Rupert Matthews, Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland said: “I am shocked and extremely saddened to hear this tragic news. Simon Cole was the epitome of a great chief constable whose commitment to public service has been unswerving. We live in a safer place thanks to his leadership.

“I know that the officers and staff, past and present, of Leicestershire Police will feel his death keenly.

“It was always clear to me that he was held in high regard and with genuine affection at all levels and I ask that people remember that in the coming days. They will be grieving.

Adam Commons, chair of Leicestershire Police Federation, described Mr Cole as a “talented, approachable and inspirational chief constable”.

“He was also a friend to many of us, who cared deeply for his cops,” he added.

Martin Hewitt, chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said: “Simon was a highly respected and valued officer. He has been a long-standing and prominent member of chief constable’s council.

“In fact, as I described him at his last meeting, ‘the father of the house’.

“Over many decades, his leadership and impact have been felt by the people of Leicestershire and by all in policing.

“We will miss him.”

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