Policing Peterborough: An honour to have served the city

This will be my last column as your Area Commander for local policing across Peterborough, as of this week I have moved to a new role within the force’s Demand Hub at our headquarters in Huntingdon, writes Superintendent Neil Billany.
Superintendent Neil BillanySuperintendent Neil Billany
Superintendent Neil Billany

I joined Cambridgeshire Constabulary back in February last year, having transferred from The Met after 21 years’ service with them, and I can genuinely say this is without doubt one of the best jobs I have had in policing.

I was genuinely honoured when I was asked to take on the role of Area Commander for Peterborough and Fenland and I leave with genuine regret that I cannot balance things better within my personal life to stay in this role longer – my new role will enable me to spend more time at home with my young family and less time on the motorways!

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

I leave with many positives to reflect on; our neighbourhood teams are integral in the community and have well- versed processes to set, review and feedback on community-set priorities. They are also now fully staffed and we have worked hard to ensure a dedicated focus on the city centre (listening to feedback from many of you). This has culminated in a growing number of Criminal Behaviour Orders against persistent offenders and an increased focus on prolific criminals.

We have also just formally announced an additional resource of a dedicated police officer to provide extra focus to the Business Improvement District (BID) within the city centre.

Overall crime rates in the area are falling (nearly five percent less than the same period last year) and importantly this includes reductions in priority areas such as violent crime, serious sexual offences, burglary (both residential and non- residential) and vehicle crime. We are also detecting more crimes than we were two years ago, which ultimately means we are providing a better service to victims of crime and more offenders are facing justice.

What I do leave behind is a very young workforce. While the national uplift has seen record numbers of police officers recruited, that is just the start of a long journey to operational competence. I have every faith they will excel in months and years to come, but in some cases, we need patience and additional investment to get to the level we need.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Clearly the most important question now is who is taking over, and I am pleased to say that Detective Superintendent Ben Martin has taken over as of this week. He has many years of policing experience in Cambridgeshire and has most recently been our force lead for criminal justice and custody.

In my first column with the Peterborough Telegraph, I wrote about wanting to improve our communication with the people we are here to work with – you, our communities. Having been given the opportunity to write a regular column has allowed me to write directly to you and open the doors on what we do, how we do it and where we want to improve in future.

Please be assured that this will not change as I move roles, Det Supt Martin will soon be formally introducing himself to you all, so keep an eye out for his columns in the coming months.