Neil Billany opinion: Superintendent launches his first column with the Peterborough Telegraph

Hello and thank you for reading my first column with the Peterborough Telegraph.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 27th May 2022, 12:22 pm
Updated Friday, 27th May 2022, 12:22 pm
Superintendent Neil Billany at Thorpe Wood police headquarters
Superintendent Neil Billany at Thorpe Wood police headquarters

When I started the North Area Commander role in late February, one key challenge was improving our communication with the people we are here to work with – and for - to make Peterborough safer.

Having the opportunity to write a regular column allows me to write directly to you.

I will look to update you on the work we are doing and answer any questions you might have.

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What I want to do is really open the doors on what we do, how we do it, and where we want to improve in future.

Policing is one of those areas that everyone has an opinion about.

My take on policing is simple: our priorities are what most of you would expect them to be, for example targeting domestic abuse, burglary, serious sexual offences, knife crime and drugs.

In the coming months, I will go into more detail about what we are doing to address these issues, but for now I want to highlight some examples of recent work our teams have done.

One that really sticks in my mind is work by one of our neighbourhood policing teams, who identified an extremely vulnerable man in Dogsthorpe who was being ‘cuckooed’. This is a term we use when someone is being taken advantage of by drug dealers or users, where the vulnerable person’s home is taken over to use or sell drugs.

The team worked extremely hard, alongside our partner agencies, to secure a closure order on his flat, banning any visitors.

Within 24 hours of this court order being put in place, the team had made two arrests.

This month we have also seen a man jailed for more than three years for some horrific domestic abuse following an impressive investigation by one of our detectives.

In this case, both colleagues and neighbours of the victim raised concerns about the perpetrator’s behaviour, something we also highlighted to you in a recent case where we secured charges for domestic abuse after a teacher raised concerns.

This shows the importance of acting on your instincts; we know how difficult it can be for someone to leave their abuser, yet someone speaking up on their behalf could be the help they need.

I also want to highlight the response to the murder of Mihai Dobre, which resulted in the quick arrest and charge of Lewis Hutchinson.

This was a highly-challenging incident to deal with and I acknowledge the impact this has had, not only for Mihai’s family and friends, but also the community in Paston.

We have also recently seen justice served for the horrific murder of Rikki Neave.

Again this involved a lot of hard work, both in the 1990s and in recent years as the case was re-opened and painstakingly reinvestigated.

These are just a few examples of the work we have dealt with in recent weeks.

Each month I hope to update you further, which I shall very much look forward to.

Please don’t forget you can contact us any time of the day or night via our website – – where you can report crime or let us know any concerns you have.

We want to hear what is important to you.