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Page last updated at 14:35 GMT, Thursday, 12 August 2010 15:35 UK
A day with the Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police
Simon Cole, Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police
Simon Cole took up the role of Chief Constable in June 2010

Since starting his post as Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police in June 2010, Simon Cole has been busy learning about the roles of his staff.

Mr Cole replaced Matt Baggot, who moved to become Chief Constable for Northern Ireland in September 2008.

Leicestershire Constabulary has over 2,300 officers and 1,200 police staff spread across a policing area that covers 2,500 square kilometres.

BBC Leicester spent a day with Mr Cole, eight weeks into his new role.

Morning business
A pen on a diary
BBC Leicester visited Simon Cole on Tuesday 3 August 2010

The Chief Constable arrives at the office at 07:30 BST, an average time, to answer emails and make a start on paperwork.

Once a week he sits down with staff officer Sarah Cox to look through the the diary, and book in the various meetings and local functions he must attend.

This morning Mr Cole has an appointment with someone who will be outlining why he feels the Chief Constable should authorise the use of specialised surveillance "against some fairly serious and organised criminals".

"The balance there is, of course, the intrusion proposed by the surveillance, proportionate to the threat they propose as organised criminals."

Emergency calls
A person dialling 999 on a mobile phone

On an average day Leicestershire Police's call centre takes around 350 emergency calls and 1,700 non-emergency calls.

Today there are 23 people on shift, including three staff members dedicated to answering 999 calls.

Less than 1% of 999 calls are from time-wasters, but staff told Mr Cole that one individual can ring them anything up to 150 times in a day.

The staff feel this can seriously impact on the team's ability to answer genuine emergency calls.

Mr Cole has confidence in his team to efficiently handle calls from the public.

"I have to trust and train the people in here to use their judgement and skill to pick out of all of those calls, the ones that really matter and to prioritise them."

The Chief Constable spent time talking to the Control Room Inspector, who is part of a team who deploy resources when calls come in; a role Mr Cole has past experience of.

"I used to do this job as a sergeant in a different force a long, long time ago when you had much more paper than these guys have got because everything is computerised now."

The dog department
A police dog
Dogs can be used by the police to sniff out drugs, firearms and money

Leicestershire Police dog section is currently made up of 17 dogs and 15 handlers.

Between them, the highly trained animals are able to sniff out drugs, firearms, and even money.

Mr Cole feels the dog unit's work had shown him that they were increasing "our capability" in hotspot crime areas, by "being visible to people in the right places".

The Chief Constable said that this was one of the the main reasons for visiting different units; to check that each section of Leicestershire Police are being as affective as they can be.

"Because we're not going to be able to get any more money, I'm not going to increase numbers, in fact, I'm probably going to have to reduce numbers.

"So what I need to be absolutely sure is we have a grand plan which is about being flexible, putting resources to where the problems are, putting resources to where there's risk."

Policing the roads
A car crash

In 2009 there were 47 fatalities on Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland roads; making it four times more likely to be killed in a road incident, than to be murdered.

Viv from the department feels it is often difficult to directly pinpoint a reason for the high number of casualties.

"We run all sorts of preventative stuff, but at the end of the day there's all sorts of factors around an accident that you can't really quantify. We're having a difficult year this year."

Mr Cole believes it is important that the police work together with other agencies to reduce the risk of road traffic incidents, including street design.

An afternoon of celebration
A police officer
The Chief Constable feels its important to celebrate the force's successes

Mr Cole rarely has a chance to take a full lunch break, as there is always someone eager to catch him for a word.

However, when he can he has a flick through the local papers and casts an eye over the BBC News website.

This afternoon he is hosting an award ceremony recognising the achievements of long serving police staff and those who have excelled in their role.

"It's an attempt to bring together and celebrate what we do well because I do think we attract a lot of negative media, we do lots of stuff that's brilliant.

"I've got 4,000 plus people. A lot of them are very, very driven, committed, enthusiastic, passionate people.

"You don't join the police to get rich, you join the police because it's a sense of vocation, and it is a privileged to lead them."

Family life
Luke Veebel of Leicester Tigers
Simon Cole is a junior rugby coach and enjoys watching Leicester Tigers

The Chief Constable usually leaves the office between 18:00 and 19:00 BST.

However, two or three times a week he has evening commitments and therefore is listed on the on-call rota.

"It's a 24/7 role. Work/life balance is an interesting concept, and I think if you gave her the opportunity my wife would throw my Blackberry quite a long distance.

"But I do feel I need to be in tune and that comes with the role and I love the job that I do.

"I do box off time for the kids, I do get involved in sport and I play sport myself - but usually with a mobile phone on buzz in my back pocket."

Mr Cole began his career with the West Midlands force in 1988, moving to Hampshire Constabulary in 2003 as Assistant Chief Constable, later Deputy.

He is currently living in Leicestershire on his own, but hopes his wife Jo and two children will join him from Hampshire in time for the new school term at the end of the summer.




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