Opinion: Understanding the crime issues that affect you

The force has recently launched a refreshed approach to public engagement, writes Supt Neil Billany, area commander for Peterborough and Fenland.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 29th July 2022, 10:34 am
The Bringhurst closure order
The Bringhurst closure order

When I say ‘refreshed’, I mean we are looking to formally return to how we worked before the Covid lockdowns.

The reason for formalising this work is so we fully understand the issues affecting you. We can then build this information together with reported crime and intelligence reports to understand areas of particular concern.

We then take these issues in turn and look to write and deliver problem-solving plans, across a variety of partners, to see long-term solutions.

Some issues are fairly simple for us to address within just the police, others need a wider audience of experts to resolve. A recent example of this is the work we put in to close an address in Bringhurst which was creating huge issues for residents. By all accounts, this was a case of one problematic household causing misery for those around them.

Our neighbourhood teams worked closely with Cross Keys Homes to close the property and a criminal investigation is also underway about the activities linked to this house.

The reality is that we can only be as good as you help us to be - without people reporting crime, telling us about suspicious activity, giving information to the police and taking part in problem-solving activities we are really limited.

We cannot be everywhere all the time, the demands and expectations on us are vast and often not linked directly to preventing and detecting crime. For example, if you ever have cause to visit the hospital you will normally see at least one police car parked outside - on occasion we can sometimes have half a shift there overseeing various issues, such as detainees from our custody needing medical care, watching over people waiting for mental health assessments, or protecting our NHS staff from threatening and abusive patients.

This leads to an accusation that often comes at us, which is that we no longer care about locking up criminals.

I can assure you that this is not the case, the teams here are committed to bringing offenders to justice, and there is no bigger buzz at the station than when we have had a breakthrough in a tough case. For example, the recent vicious robbery of an elderly lady in Fletton who was left with serious injuries after a man and woman stole her handbag.

Lastly, you have seen that we have charged a man with 15 counts of attempted burglary relating to houses in the Werrington area.

Our work was made so much easier by people having doorbell cameras / CCTV. For the money there are very few other things you can invest in that have the same impact on preventing and detecting crime.

If you are interested in other measures you can take to secure your home please visit https://www.securedbydesign.com for police-approved devices and advice on crime prevention