MEMBERS of Leicester’s multi-faith community met to say farewell to Simon Cole, Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police who will be retiring later this month.
Simon Cole, will be stepping down from his role as Chief Constable on March 21, a role he has been in for 12 years.
Last night members of Leicester’s multi-faith community, plus civic dignitaries, business associations and network organisations, met with Simon to say farewell and to thank him for the work he has done to improve police relations within Leicester’s multi-faith community.
Plaques on behalf of many of those that attended last night’s event (March 2), were presented to the chief, to thank him for the dedication and support he has given to them over the years.
“The testimony of all those that spoke was a real credit to him and to all those that have served under him,” said Suleman Nagdi, Deputy Lieutenant of Leicestershire, who has also served for over 30 years as a volunteer and community advocate with a particular emphasis on interfaith relations.
“Personally, I look back and reflect on my relationship with Simon who I have known as a “critical friend”. I consider all of the good things that I’ve experienced working with him too numerous to mention.
“Congratulations Simon on your retirement, happy, healthy, restful, prosperous and well-deserved,” he added.
“You will be missed – your successor will have tall boots to fill! Literally.”
Mr Nagdi highlighted the support that Simon has shown over the years for the Open Society Foundations international project, which helps to improve Police relations with faith communities.
The project involves the sharing of good practice between Leicester, Antwerp and Rotterdam and increase BAME (black, asian and minority ethnic) officers into the local police service.
“We have worked closely on faith and diversity training to police officers, the more we understand the communities the more we make everyone safer and stronger,” he added.
“This type of engagement has been very valuable. All those who are associated with policing know that challenges to keep us safe can only be met with the will and determination of the leadership, Simon in this regard has been exemplary. It is my hope that this commitment and engagement continues with all future successors of the force.”
The event at Brahma Kumaris, Harmony House, was organised by Resham Singh Sandhu, former High Sheriff of Leicestershire.
“It was a great event but very emotional at the same time,” he said.
“Simon is a wonderful man – a champion of equality, diversity and human rights, who has time for everybody. He is very approachable and friendly and still very strong in his duties.
“He never looks down, and always made every effort to come out to all festivals, including Diwali, Vaisakhi and the Christmas light switch on,” he added.
“He will definitely be missed, but I’m happy to hear that he’ll continue to live in Leicestershire.”
By Louise Steel