The National Police Chiefs' Council has issued a statement following a super-complaint on stalking, submitted by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, on behalf of the National Stalking Consortium.
The Trust has raised concerns around the police response to stalking in England and Wales, including identifying and investigating stalking behaviours and ensuring protections for victims.
His Majesty’s Inspectorate will now assess the information and decide if the super-complaint should be fully investigated.
National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Stalking and Harassment, Deputy Chief Constable Paul Mills, said:
“Harassment and stalking are serious crimes which can have a devastating effect on the lives of victims and their friends and family. Stalking is a crime which goes to the very heart of violence against women and girls, removing their feeling of safety.
“Now the super-complaint has been submitted, we will await the outcome of the decision by His Majesties Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services whether it is eligible for investigation.
“It is recognised there is more to do to improve the criminal justice system outcomes for victims of stalking and we are working closely with the Crown Prosecution Service to understand the progression of cases before the point of charge and court.”
Notes to editors:
Since the introduction of Stalking Protection Orders on the 20 January 2020, the Police Service in England and Wales issued over 400 orders in the first year and we have seen an increase in applications for year two.
In the last four years new training has been introduced for police officers and staff to help them better identify stalking and a refreshed protocol has been put in place between the police and CPS to improve the standard of investigations.
Additional work is also ongoing with the Home Office to embed Stalking Protection Orders and we are working with other partners in the to build on early learning from stalking perpetrator intervention schemes.
We have been working with the Home Office, Ministry of Justice and HMICFRS to improve the access to SPO data on a more regular basis;
Since 2018 the police service has been working with partners to improve the response to stalking offences, we, along with the Crown Prosecution Service published a Joint Protocol, that set out how stalking and harassment offences should be effectively investigated and prosecuted.
There are now specialist advisors in each force, throughout England and Wales, who are responsible for improving standards.
Together, with the College of Policing, we have updated the suite of training and guidance material available to all officers and staff. This has been developed in consultation with our specialist partners and police practitioners, to support first responders to make effective risk-based decisions, to help investigators effectively identify and understand risk and respond appropriately, and to senior leaders to further support their force area with continuous development
In addition, we have focused in the last two years better able to understand the prevalence of these types of offending and have seen an increase in stalking crimes from 10,383 in April 2018 to 118,411 in March 2022. This increase has been a result of improved awareness for the identification of stalking with the mnemonic ‘FOUR’ a pattern of Fixated, Obsessive, Unwanted and Repeated behaviour
In 2020 changes to Home Office Counting Rule guidance ensured that consideration should be applied during the crime recording decision making process to establish if the matter amounts to stalking rather than harassment.