As National Stalking Awareness Week begins (Monday 16th April), Cleveland Police and the force’s Police and Crime Commissioner have reiterated its support for the issue.
PCC Barry Coppinger has long demonstrated his commitment to raising awareness of stalking and funding practical support to the force. In 2015 he funded a training event at Cleveland Police Headquarters, run by national stalking advocacy service Paladin, where Tricia Bernal, the mother of a stalking victim who was sadly murdered by her ex-partner, addressed over 100 officers, staff and support services.
He has made a commitment to funding stalking provision in his Police and Crime Plan, and stalking and harassment forms part of the regional PCC’s (Cleveland, Durham and Northumbria) Violence against Women and Girls Strategy.
PCC Barry Coppinger said: “Supporting victims of stalking is a priority of mine and anyone affected by stalking and harassment can receive support and advice from the Victim Care and Advice Service, funded by my office and Durham OPCVC.
“It’s vital that all our officers understand stalking behaviours, how to identify online and offline risk, and stalking legislation. It is equally vital that people who face stalking and harassment know there is help and support available to them and that they should come forward and report it at the earliest possible stage.”
Protecting Vulnerable People Chief Inspector - and Force Lead for Stalking -Helen Barker added: “ I would agree with the Suzy Lamplugh Trust that understanding the precise nature of stalking is a challenge - not only for police but also for the wider public; even victims may not realise initially that they are suffering.
“Stalking has increased in part because of increased opportunities presented by social media and other online platforms but we have ensured that all our officers have been briefed in the last year on the issue. They are asked to identify stalking, to record it and, most importantly, told how to support victims by signposting them to specialist services where appropriate and where possible.
“We have come a long way in recent years with regards stalking and harassment but in common with many forces, there is still some way to go but we are committed to deepening our approach.”
Promising victims that the force would always work with partners to bring to justice anyone taking part in stalking, Chief Inspector Barker also said she welcomed the opportunity to attend the Suzy Lamplugh Trust’s National Stalking Conference where presentations and interactive workshops would allow participants to bring new ideas and best practice back to their home force or organisation.
Anyone affected by stalking or harrassment can contact Victim Care and Advice Service on 0303 040 1099 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on Monday 16th April 2018