New Peterborough top cop says there are no ‘no go areas’ in the city - and vows to increase police visibility

Cambridgeshire police’s new commanding officer for Peterborough has said there are no ‘no go’ areas in Peterboroughand has pledged to increase police visibility in the city.

By Stephen Briggs
Wednesday, 6th April 2022, 12:14 pm

Superintendent Neil Billany took over from Superintendent Kate Anderson as the Area Commander for Peterborough and Fenland last month, having moved from the Met Police in London.

During his first month he has been introducing himself to key people in the city - from councillors and MPs, to business and religious leaders.

And one of his first priorities was making people feel safe in the city centre.

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Superintendent Neil Billany at Thorpe Wood police headquarters EMN-220404-165956009

Readers have regularly contacted the Peterborough Telegraph, saying they did not feel save in some parts of Peterborough including in the city centre at night.

When asked if there were any no go areas in Peterborough, he said: “No, not at all. If people have got those concerns then I’d really encourage them to talk to us about it and really help us to understand why that is. But certainly, there is nothing to say that anywhere in the city is a no go area.

“We will be reintroducing, and it won’t be every weekend and it won’t be every night of every weekend, But we’re going to be looking at reintroducing night time economy, patrols and so just increase that visibility in the city centre as people are going home from the nights out and ultimately just want people’s feel more safe as they go home.

“But if people have got concerns around it somewhere in the city, that doesn’t feel safe, please let us know”

Supt Billany said he was confident that residents in Peterborough did have the trust in the police - especially when compared to London, where he worked for more than 20 years.

He said; “Having come from London where there were issues around trust and confidence in the police, I don’t get our sense here at all and I think we’re much more well, linked in to the community.

“The fact that a lot of the officers and staff here are local - whereas in the Met, that has always been one of the challenges. My wife is from London, and we tried to live there, but we couldn’t afford it. Whereas if you look at the officers and staff here, most people have got really strong connections to the area. It is that sense we understand the community because we are genuinely part of it.

“It does genuinely make a difference because the officers understand what people expect and what you want the police to be doing.

“So I don’t think we are in the position other forces are in around trust and confidence, but there is always those things where we could potentially do more.”

In a bid to improve confidence, and visibility, Supt Billany said the force would be ‘reinvigorating’ neighbourhood policing.

He said: “Neighbourhood policing is something that we are going to be reinvigorating and reinvesting in.
“Now we are coming away from (COVID) lockdowns, we can get back to having public meetings, and get back to attending faith groups and youth groups, and just starting to have quality conversations with the community about what is concerning them.”