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Friday, January 28, 2022

Stalking incidents rise rapidly across Notts


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The number of stalking incidents reported last year in Nottinghamshire was ten times the figure recorded in 2015, data has shown.

There were 649 stalking incidents recorded last year from April to December.

In 2015 there were 64 reported stalking incidents across the county.

This is according to data from a BBC Local News Partnerships Scheme investigation.

More than half of all other police forces sawstalking incidents double over the same period, with two seeing an increase of more than 500 per cent.

In comparison incidents in Nottinghamshire grew by two per cent from 2019-20.

In England and Wales 59,950 incidents were recorded, which was almost double the annual number for the year ending March 2020.

Lisa King, communications director at domestic violence charity Refuge, said: “When we’ve been locked in the use of technology to stalk and frighten and harass – particularly young women – has seen a huge increase in numbers.

Nottinghamshire Police
649 incidents were reported last year from April to December

“We’ve seen people having track trackers on their phones, where their information is mirrored onto another person’s device. We see spyware being downloaded, trackers in cars, but also kind of a monitoring of social media profiles.

“And not just to the victim themselves, but beyond to friends and family members whose details have been followed and tracked, and as a result kind of tracking the victim down and harassment to those parties also.”

The figures also showed that Nottinghamshire Police’s charge rates for stalking were the sixth best in England and Wales.

The national charge rate for stalking offences is at its lowest point for five years, falling from 23 per cent in 2015/16 to just six per cent.

In comparison Nottinghamshire Police had a charge rate of ten per cent.

At the start of last year Stalking Protection Orders (SPOs) became available to police forces in England and Wales.

These are designed to allow police to act early and can restrict stalkers from entering certain locations or contacting victims.

They also allow bans on referencing victims on social media, recording images of them, making applications to civil court referencing them, and using the internet.

But there are concerns that these new powers are not being used enough, as only 294 orders have been granted so far.

Suky Bhaker, CEO of stalking charity the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, said:

“If we look at the figures from the crime survey of England and Wales, we know that approximately 1.5 million people will experience stalking in any given year.

“So in proportion, that figure is incredibly low in comparison to the number of individuals we know who would potentially require that protection.”

In Nottinghamshire all the 13 SPOs asked for were granted.

Four police forces have not applied for a single SPO since January 2020.

She added: It’s absolutely imperative that when those orders are breached, the full force of law is used and offenders are prosecuted otherwise it sends a message that perpetrators can act with impunity, that there’s not going to be repercussions for those actions.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Stalking Protection Orders stop perpetrators in their tracks and prevent them contacting victims. We expect police forces to make full use of them.

 “The Home Office and College of Policing have worked closely with forces to produce guidance on issuing them.

“Next week, Home Office officials will meet with the police and other stakeholders who work to tackle stalking to set out our findings on how effectively police forces have been using SPOs and discuss how to improve this.”

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