Let's make Fenland ‘a hostile place’ for criminals 

Superintendent Neil Billany, Area Commander for Peterborough and Fenland

Superintendent Neil Billany, Area Commander for Peterborough and Fenland - Credit: Policing Fenland

When I became north area commander for Peterborough and Fenland in late February, a key challenge was improving our communication with the people we are here to work with.

And to make Fenland safer.  

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

I joined Cambridgeshire Constabulary having spent 20 years working in London.  

You may ask, fairly, after that length of time in a city, what do I know about policing rural communities and market towns?  

The thing is, while the Peterborough aspect of my job was hugely appealing, it was the opportunity to lead policing in Fenland that really got me interested. 

I grew up in East Yorkshire, initially living in Hull but moving to Beverley, a town with a population of 30,000, when I was five.  

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I spent my childhood and early adult years in the countryside – our house backed directly onto farmers’ fields.  

My uncle was a farm labourer, and I had friends in the farming community or who lived in the surrounding villages.  

As such, I completely appreciate the concerns of the Fenland communities, especially with your police teams also technically having responsibility for Peterborough. 

I also understand that while the benefits of living in a small town or the countryside are immense, there can also be a feeling of a lack of investment or interest from bodies like the police who must also balance the needs of demanding urban areas.  

What we do have in Fenland are two close-knit stations providing a level of service not often seen elsewhere.  

There are no barriers between uniformed officers and detectives like you may see on TV dramas.  

The officers here know and love the area they police and genuinely want to do their best for the community. 

I am also pleased that we have the Rural Crime Action Team who work tirelessly to deal with issues that do not often attract headline news but cost rural communities hundreds of thousands of pounds in terms of damage to farmland and agricultural theft.  

We, as a joint enterprise of police and community, have to come together to make Fenland a hostile place for criminals.  

I will be looking to get out with the neighbourhood teams working across the area and look forward to meeting some of you in due course.  

Please don’t forget you can contact us any time of the day or night via our website here

– www.cambs.police.uk – where you can report crime or let us know any concerns you have. We want to hear what is important to you.