Glowing police report is ‘fitting tribute’ to late Simon Cole

A glowing report into Leicestershire Police’s performance has been called “a fitting tribute” to the late Simon Cole. The former chief constable was found dead at home last month, just 12 days after retiring from the force. Official watchdog Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services has now graded Leicestershire Police’s performance across 10 areas of policing and found the force was ‘outstanding’ in three areas, ‘good’ in four areas, ‘adequate’ in two and ‘inadequate’ in one – sex offender management.

Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary, Roy Wilsher, said: “Since our inspection, the former chief constable of Leicestershire Police, Simon Cole, sadly passed away. Our thoughts remain with Simon’s family, friends and colleagues and this report is a fitting tribute to his leadership. READ MORE: Simon Cole inquest opened into death of former Leicestershire Police chief

“Leicestershire Police’s officers and staff are to be congratulated on their hard work. The force is outstanding in three areas, which demonstrates its high level of performance, but it can improve in other aspects to provide a consistently good service.” He said the force was to be praised for its “established leadership culture” that puts protecting vulnerable people first while also empowering the “increasingly diverse staff”.

He said: “The force uses powerful tools to reduce the threat posed by the most potentially dangerous people. “This includes its trailblazing expansion of the way it uses Operation Encompass – the national arrangement for informing schools if their pupils have been involved in, or witnessed, domestic abuse.” Another success highlighted in the report was the production of the YouTube short film Kayleigh’s Love Story, based on the tragic dead of Kayleigh Haywood and made as a warning to children and parents to prevent such things happening again.

The 15-year-old Measham schoolgirl was raped and murdered in 2015 after going to visit a man in Ibstock who she had met online. Mr Wilsher said the inspectorate were also pleased with improvements the force had made based on previous inspections. He said: “Leicestershire has significantly improved its recording of all reported crimes since our last inspection – we found it correctly recorded nearly all sexual offences and was particularly good at recording crimes of rape.

“Rape is one of the most serious crimes a victim can experience, and it is especially important that crimes are recorded accurately to make sure victims receive the service and support they expect and deserve. However, the force needs to improve its sex offender management processes, which are at times unclear and deviate from national guidelines. “I look forward to monitoring the force’s progress towards addressing the areas I have identified for improvement.”

The full report is on the HMICFRS website. An inquest looking into the death of Mr Cole, was opened and adjourned to a date yet to be fixed earlier this month. Mr Cole was found dead at his home in Kibworth Harcourt on March 30, just 12 days after retiring from the position he held for more than a decade, and from a career spanning more than 30 years.

Leicester Coroner’s Court heard that the 55-year-old was formally identified by his wife, Joanne Cole, on the same day. The court heard that a post-mortem examination has been carried out on the former police chief, but his cause of death was not given at the hearing. A book of condolence for tributes Mr Cole has been opened by Leicestershire Police.

To sign the book, click here.

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