Today we join the nation in raising awareness of stalking, and highlighting how people can get the help and support they need.
Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Rachael Cox is the Force lead for the issue of stalking. She said: “Stalking is defined by fixation and obsession which is unwanted and repeated. A victim is likely to feel vulnerable and frightened, and is potentially in real danger, so it is vital that stalking is a priority area for us, and it is important for us to encourage people to seek help. We will do this throughout the year but this awareness week gives us an additional opportunity to highlight the issue and the support available. If you are enduring this intrusive behaviour and are in immediate danger, call 999. If it’s not an emergency, call 101. If you need someone to talk to, you can also call the Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300.”
The National Stalking Prevention Week begins today (25 April). During the week we will be taking to social media to highlight information on the characteristics of stalking, and how we, and other organisations, can help. Help us spread these important messages by sharing and re-tweeting using #NSAW2022
We will also raise awareness of Stalking Protection Orders (SPOs). These were introduced to protect victims under the Stalking and Protection Act 2019, with the orders made possible from January 2020. We are able to immediately arrest anyone breaching an SPO and this could result in up to five years imprisonment.
T/ DCI Rachael Cox explained, “SPOs are a vital safeguarding tool for Police. SPOs offer an effective means of managing a suspect through use of prohibitions and requirements. They allow an opportunity for early intervention in a stalking case, before the criminal threshold is met, and can also be used at any point during the course of an investigation up to the point of conviction. A person who breaches an SPO without reasonable excuse commits a criminal offence and we are committed to taking proactive and urgent action where this is the case.”
Stalking is an insidious crime with FOUR behavioural signs: Fixated, Obsessive, Unwanted, Repeated. One in five women and one in ten men have experienced stalking at some point since the age of 16.*
If you have concerns for yourself or someone you know please call us on 101, or 999 if it's an emergency.