National Stalking Awareness Week 2018
1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men will experience stalking in their lifetime. However, alarmingly only a fraction of these cases are reported to the police and those that do often find the response unhelpful.
We know that police forces across the UK have made critical errors in the past whilst investigating stalking cases which has led to victims and families being tragically let down. However, despite some very high profile cases, there is still limited knowledge and awareness of stalking and we really need to address that.
One of the tools the Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) has is to bring independent, external scrutiny to policing. That is why Mrs Bourne has commissioned HMICFRS (the independent national police inspectorate) to conduct a thorough review of the way Sussex Police now deals with stalking and to help understand where they need to improve.
From this Sussex Police, acknowledged their training and development needs and senior officers are as committed as the PCC in ensuring that we understand stalking.
Since 2013, only 9 police and crime commissioners have commissioned services that specifically work with victims of stalking at any point. Only 0.18% of the total police and crime commissioner budget for victims’ services for England and Wales in 2015/2016 was spent on stalking-specific projects.
Three years ago in Sussex there were no local services to support victims of stalking, but now, with significant funding from the office of the Sussex PCC and from Sussex Police, Veritas Justice provides a county-wide service that both directly supports victims and trains officers to recognise and deal with reports of stalking. There has since been a 300% increase in recorded crime (from 218 cases in 2016 to 889 in 2017); a 300% increase in referrals to Veritas and Sussex Police has solved 3x as many stalking offences. There has also been a significant improvement in partnership working between the police and CPS.
Ultimately victims need to know that when they come forward they will be listened to, that the police force they contact will take their report seriously and that a specialist support service is available for them to access locally.
“I want to encourage other Chief Constables and PCCs to #StandUpToStalking and show their commitment to understanding and handling reports of stalking and to provide victims with appropriate support services to help them cope and recover.” - Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner
Stand Up To Stalking press release
Mrs Bourne, who has her own malevolent experience of stalking, is calling on her fellow PCCs, police forces and criminal justice agencies to join the dots and understand the behaviour of stalking and to stop treating each case as a separate incident but to look for the pattern in the perpetrator’s behaviour.
Video: Sussex PCC explains why she is Standing Up To Stalking
Video: The devastating impact of stalking - Lorraine's Story Part 1
Video: Getting my life back - Lorraine's Story Part 2
Video: DCI Pierre Serra discusses stalking training funded by Sussex PCC
Video: Veritas Stalking Video - Naomi's stalking experience
Infographic showing the local impact of investment in stalking victim support and specialist training for Sussex Police officers
Poems from victims of stalking in Sussex