Peterborough’s new top police officer calls for residents to be eyes and ears for force

The new top police officer in Peterborough has called for residents to be the eyes and ears of the force to help tackle crime in their neighbourhoods.

By Stephen Briggs
Thursday, 7th April 2022, 5:00 am

Superintendent Neil Billany has said intelligence from residents will be the key to reducing crime and anti social behaviour across Peterborough.

He said; “Even if you don’t want to engage with the police - we know that some people don’t trust or like the police for whatever reason - they can call Crimestoppers anonymously, you can put information into the system and tell officers what’s going on.

“If you don’t like something, if it looks suspicious, or something’s just a little bit out of place, getting people to report that into us is so important.

Superintendent Neil Billany at Thorpe Wood police headquarters EMN-220404-165934009

“If people are telling us what’s happening and ideally who’s doing it, things like the people at number 23 are dealing drugs, or you know someone who’s coming and going that strange times of the day and night or there’s lots of visitors to an address, that kind of thing which we might not necessarily know about. I’d rather we just had all the information and intelligence come into us and then we’ve got the right teams that can sift through that and really direct the officers when they’re out and about to the right places.

“I think if people don’t feel invested in us, then they’re probably less like to pick the phone up or make that the effort, thinking ‘well, the police are not going bother about this.’”

Supt Billany said he believed there was trust in the police force in Peterborough - but was planning on increasing visibility of officers and neighbourhood policing as well.

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One of the biggest issues facing officers across the country - including in Peterborough - is mental health, with the number of incidents officers are called to involving mental health increasing.

Supt Billany said; “We spend a lot of time dealing with people that are missing, dealing with mental health issues and a lot of time dealing with young people that are struggling.

“It has been fairly consistent to be honest for a number of years now.

“A lot of people who come into custody have their own challenges, whether that is mental health, or substance issues, and that can take up time making sure the right protections are in place.”

Along with Peterborough, Supt Billany will also be looking after Fenland, and the different challenges the area faces.

He said; “I spent a lot of my time growing up in a semi rural area. I had family that worked in the farm trade, so Fenland is an area I am really enthusiastic about.

“How we police the difference areas will be different - we have more officers in Peterborough, but there are still those town centre issues in the market towns - the alcohol related crime, the anti-social behaviour, the drug dealing, but there are also those rural issues like hare coursing and poaching.”

Father of three Supt Billany has family living in Cambridgeshire, but will be backing Hull City - although in his words ‘they are doing their best to get relegated.’ He said he is also looking forward to the big music events taking place in the city in the summer.

He said he was excited to see the growth of Peterborough in the coming years - with the police playing a key role.

He said; “I see it as a privilege to be here. It’s a great place to work and I such potential for the city, and obviously how we are a key part of that, supporting the city centre on the BID for example.”