As part of National Stalking Awareness Week 2017, Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire, Matthew Ellis, has highlighted a piece of work undertaken by an independent panel he set up in 2013, to help combat stalking and harassment.
The Ethics, Transparency and Audit Panel (ETAP have shone the spotlight on the service given to victims of Stalking and Harassment in Staffordshire after a number of high-profile cases in the national media in 2016 where women, in particular, had been subjected to assaults following incidents of stalking.
To form the report the panel met with officers to learn more about the policies in place for stalking and harassment, the training they receive and the relationships officers have with agencies who support victims of stalking and harassment.
The panel also examined a selection of local stalking and harassment cases, from when the initial call was made, through to the outcome in order to understand the issues faced by victims of stalking and to see how cases are dealt with by Staffordshire Police.
The Panel found that while Staffordshire Police has ‘fairly robust’ procedures in place for dealing with stalking and harassment crimes, it was recommended that more guidance needs to be provided to officers on how victims should be supported.
Mr Ellis said:
‘This report by ETAP provides valuable insight into how Staffordshire police deal with cases of stalking and harassment and the service that is provided to victims of these crimes.
‘Since this report was done, we have launched the Staffordshire Victim Gateway, which is about putting victims’ needs first and providing them with free advice and support.’
Detective Supt Jav Oomer said:
‘It is important that stalking behaviour is identified early and acted upon but this relies upon the victim to trust their instincts and recognise when someone’s behaviour is being intrusive. Stalking matters and no one should live in fear of another person.
‘The impact of stalking and harassment on victims and families can be devastating and whilst victims do come forward it is still under reported.’