Recently retired Leicestershire Police Chief Constable dies aged 55
Leicestershire Police has announced the death of Simon Cole, who retired from his role as chief constable of the force less than two weeks ago.
Simon, who had served in policing for over 30 years, was found dead at his home address in Kibworth Harcourt, Leicestershire, this morning (Wednesday, March 30).
This matter has been referred to the coroner.
In a statement, the force said its "thoughts and prayers are with all of Simon’s family and friends at this difficult time".
He was the longest serving police chief constable in England and Wales when he retired from the force on March 18.
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 want to respect their privacy and the coroner’s process and would ask that the public and media do so too.
“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 established in the coming days via the police force's website.
Rutland County Council leader Oliver Hemsley (Con) said: "Rutland County Council is deeply saddened by the loss of retired chief constable Simon Cole.
"Simon was an immensely dedicated public servant whose kindness and good nature was matched only by his determination to protect and serve the communities under his care. Throughout three decades in policing and 12 years at the head of Leicestershire Police, Simon earned the respect and admiration of everyone he worked with. I can scarcely imagine how much he will be missed.
"The thoughts of everyone at Rutland County Council are with Simon’s family, and all those who served beside him."
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.
“My thoughts and sympathies are with his family, friends and colleagues. I sincerely hope that they are given the time and space to grieve in peace.”
Adam Commons, chairman of Leicestershire Police Federation, said: “All at Leicestershire Police Federation - and all Leicestershire Police officers - are devastated to hear the news of the death of our former chief constable Simon Cole.
“Simon was a talented, approachable and inspirational chief constable - who diligently led our force for a decade. He was also a friend to many of us, who cared deeply for his cops.
“The thoughts of all Leicestershire Police officers are with Simon’s family and his friends at this awful time.”
Mr Cole grew up in Leicestershire and took up his position as chief constable of the force in June 2010. Having been educated in Market Bosworth, Northampton, Oadby and Colchester, Simon joined West Midlands Police on the graduate entry scheme.
He joined Hampshire Police in 2003 as assistant chief constable where he led on delivering neighbourhood policing. He became deputy chief constable in 2008 before returning to Leicestershire as chief.
Locally Simon represented the force on the strategic partnership board, working with partners from all over the force area to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour. He had a huge impact on national policing portfolios and held a number of voluntary roles.
He was a keen sportsman chairing the Leicestershire Police Sports and Leisure Section, Force Benevolent Fund and Police Sport UK National (PSUK) Lawn Tennis, cricket and Rugby sections.
In 2020, Simon was awarded the Sir Robert Peel Medal by the Institute of Criminology at Cambridge University. The Sir Robert Peel Medal is awarded annually for Outstanding Leadership in Evidence Based Policing; covid meant that it was actually presented in 2021.