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Leicestershire and Rutland Police and Crime Commissioner Rupert Matthews aims to put officers back in the community and re-name the force

The new face of policing has pledged to give Rutland as much attention as neighbouring Leicestershire.

Rupert Matthews was elected as Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicestershire and Rutland on Saturday.

He aims to put officers back into the community and to re-name the force he represents.

Rupert Matthews
Rupert Matthews

As a keen historian, Rupert researched the impact of Rutland Constabulary being abolished in 1951.

At the time people feared the number of police officers in Rutland would decline to meet the demand in Leicester.

“Within four years, that had happened,” said Rupert.

Rupert Matthews. Photo: North West Leicestershire District Council
Rupert Matthews. Photo: North West Leicestershire District Council

“I want the Home Secretary to change the name back to Leicestershire and Rutland Police to acknowledge the two separate counties.”

Rupert is a Londonder but lives 20 minutes from the Rutland border. He lists Rutland Water and enjoying a cup of tea in Uppingham among the county’s best bits.

Now elected, his priorities are to make policing more visible and to ensure rural officers have the necessary equipment and training to tackle their specific issues.

Rupert said: “Over time the police have been disengaging from the public. Twenty years ago seeing a police officer on the street would be as common as seeing a postman, but now if people see a police car they wonder what is wrong.

“There seems to be a fashion for policing to be centralised, with things done online and behind closed doors.

“I want to get the police back into the community and for them to be seen at parish meetings and village fêtes.”

One of Rupert’s first jobs is to draw up a policing plan.

“There hasn’t been an opportunity to hold public meetings because of covid, but I’ll be doing that soon and sending out leaflets.

“We need to know what the public are thinking,” he said.

“The key thing is to make sure the police are doing what the public wants them to do.”

Rupert also believes there is scope for Rutland’s police to have more autonomy over how their work is managed.

He added: “There are several areas which have distinctive characteristics, including Rutland, which I think might benefit from having more localised control.”

Rupert, the Conservative candidate, takes over the post from Lord Willy Bach who represented Labour and was elected in 2016.

Rupert won after the second preference votes had to be counted. This happened because none of the three candidates standing received more than 50 per cent of the vote in the first preference count.

The results were as follows:

l Rupert Matthews (Con) 135,566

l Ross Willmott (Lab) 102,211

The first preference votes were:

l Rupert Matthews (Con) 121,252 (49.27 per cent)

l James Moore (Lib Dem) 42951 (17.45 per cent)

l Ross Willmott (Lab) 81898 (33.28 per cent)

This is the total from all nine counts, including Rutland. North West Leicestershire District Council was responsible for declaring the result, which came late on Saturday evening.

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