PCC Katy Bourne welcomes Stalking Orders
Commenting on Home Office plans to introduce new stalking protection orders which will help protect victims at the earliest possible stage, Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said:
“Stalking is an appalling crime that destroys lives so it is vital that those affected feel confident in not only reporting it but also knowing that action will be taken at the earliest possible stage and that the law is on their side.
“These Stalking Orders will allow police to apply for restrictions on the behaviour of perpetrators, for example staying away from the target or restricting their internet use.
“They will be available at an early stage and are civil orders and so not subject to the criminal burden of proof. They are intended to protect people who are being stalked and harassed and to enable them to get relief quickly. It will be a criminal offence to break the terms of the order.
“I fully support initiatives that encourage victims to seek help so they do not have to live in fear. That is why my office has allocated funding to both the Suzy Lamplugh Trust and Veritas, who help and support victims of stalking in Sussex. Veritas was recently awarded £10,000 from my Victims’ Services Fund for their Stalking Advocacy Service.
“Specialist services in Sussex tell me that many victims do not report to the police until they have experienced nearly 100 incidents. This shows we need to help people recognise when they are being stalked and to know what is acceptable behaviour.
“We need to make stalking behaviour socially unacceptable and recognise that social media platforms can also provide a consistent and damaging medium for offenders.
“A key challenge is to support frontline police officers to recognise stalking as a serious crime when it is described to them and police must keep victims engaged with stalking investigations to ensure that evidence is secured to support prosecution where appropriate.
“If anyone is concerned about stalking please see www.safespacesussex.org.uk which provides direct access to help and support for victims and witnesses of crime in Sussex or call Sussex Police on 101.”