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MEET RUPERT MATTHEWS; LEICESTERSHIRE POLICE’S CRIME COMMISSIONER

Leicester Time: MEET RUPERT MATTHEWS; LEICESTERSHIRE POLICE'S CRIME COMMISSIONER

Rupert Matthews opens up about his passion for history, and his role as Leicestershire Police’s Crime Commissioner. 

Rupert Matthews is someone who’s extremely enthusiastic about his role as Crime Commissioner for Leicestershire Police. It’s a job he’s been doing for a year and four months now, and one which he describes as “fascinating” – “a real adventure.”

Originally from London, Mr Matthews moved to Leicestershire a few years back, and when he saw that they were looking for someone to stand for the Conservative party Police and Crime Commissioner, he decided to put his name forward.

“I thought this could be a really interesting job. It could be something where I could make a real contribution to society and really make a difference, so I thought I’ll give it a go,” he told the Leicester Times.

“It has been a real adventure. As Police Crime Commissioner, I’ve been coming in to the city much more to get to know people, and one of the most interesting parts of my job is just to talk to people find out what people want from the police,” he went on to reveal.

“I then take that message to the police so that the Chief Constable and I can work out how to try and provide the service that people want.

“It means that I’ve been getting to know communities, getting to talk to people, and it’s been absolutely fascinating.

“Sometimes, it’s not just a case of meeting community leaders, or business owners or religious leaders. I like to make the time just to sit in a cafe and talk to the owner, and depending on the reaction I get, maybe to some of the customers as well,” he added.

“I explain who I am, and try and gauge their expectations of the police, and of law and order in a busy city like Leicester. It’s a great part of my job, and it’s been a real adventure getting to know all different types of people from all different sorts of communities and backgrounds.”

Explaining his role, Mr Matthews said that his main task is to set out the annual strategy and the budget for Leicestershire Police.

“Every year I sit down with the Chief Constable, and we discuss what the strategy’s going to be this year, what we are going to concentrate on and deal with, and then allocate the budget to it,” he revealed.

“The Chief Constable then implements the strategy on a day to day basis and I check up on a rolling programme that he’s doing what he’s supposed to be doing. Invariably, so far he has been, which is great news.”

Mr Matthews says that one of the main budgeting challenges this year, is the increase in fuel prices.

“This year, with the big hike in the rise of energy being one of the problems we’ve got, is being able to afford the fuel for the police vehicles,” he revealed.

“Fuel costs have gone up enormously, so we’re going to have to find the money to pay for that from elsewhere within the budget.”

After speaking with Mr Matthews, it is clear that he is passionate and extremely enthusiastic about his role of Crime Commissioner.

However, his first love is history – a subject he “fell in love with” at the age of around 12 or 13, he revealed.

Along side his role as Crime Commissioner, Mr Matthews enjoys a career as an established public speaker, school visitor, history consultant and author of non-fiction books, magazine articles and newspaper columns.

His work has been translated into 28 languages (including Sioux).

“After I left school, I got a job working at a local newspaper, did some features at the Daily Mail and then moved into books and magazines after that,” he said.

“I’ve been freelance for maybe about 25 years and not just working in publishing. I also do consultancy for television shows and movie companies and stuff, but pretty much always working with history.”

His favourite era is the medieval period.

Asked to name more of his favourite things, Mr Matthews names Italy as his favourite travel destination, due to its delicious food, amazing art and rich history.

“I love Italy – first of all the food and drink is great. So if you’re going on holiday, it’s just a really enjoyable place to be,” he said.

“But the artwork – the museums in Florence and Rome are amazing. Milan is a beautiful city…but overall, if I had to pick a favourite out of those three cities, I’d have to go for Rome I think.”

When it comes to food, Mr Matthews admits that he is torn between two very different cuisines.

I’m a split – a Sunday roast when I’m at home doing it myself, but if I’m eating out it’s got to be a curry,” he revealed. 

When it comes to books however, he doesn’t hesitate with his answer; ‘Three Men in a Boat’, by English writer Jerome K.Jerome.

It is described as “a humorous account of a two-week boating holiday on the Thames from Kingston Upon Thames to Oxford and back to Kingston.

“When I first read it at the age of 13 or 14 years old, I sort of got the jokes and thought it was funny – very amusing,” he said.

“When I read it the second time (in my 30s), I realised that actually there’s a lot of history in here, and then I read it again about 2/3 years ago, I got even more out of it. I realised that the guy who wrote it was a real social campaigner – he was trying to get changes made. And so he wasn’t just writing about the society he knew, which was late Victoria/middle class London, he was also trying to get changes, so there were all kinds of characters in there where he’s writing about the social injustices of the period, and trying to get things changed.”

When it comes to his role as Crime Commissioner, it’s clear that Mr Matthews feels a great sense of purpose and reward in helping to make his own changes in society.

“The job is primarily about crime prevention, which can be as simple as getting better locks on windows and doors.

“But it’s also taking people who are coming out of prison, trying to find them jobs, trying to find them somewhere to live so that they can have a stable life, and hopefully then won’t fall back into their criminal ways,” he explained.

“The best way to stop someone from committing crime is to get them a decent job without doubt.

“We also do a lot of work with young people who are perhaps showing the signs of following the path. So we do a lot of work with them to try and keep them on the straight and narrow, and the right side of the law.

“Then there’s witness support, victim support… It’s a very varied role which covers a lot of ground, and it’s absolutely fascinating. I’m so enjoying it, it’s so interesting and extremely rewarding.”

Leicester Time: MEET RUPERT MATTHEWS; LEICESTERSHIRE POLICE'S CRIME COMMISSIONER