Lincolnshire Police highlights issue of stalking

Lincolnshire Police is joining the nation in raising awareness of stalking.
National Stalking Awareness Week.National Stalking Awareness Week.
National Stalking Awareness Week.

Though COVID-19 may change the behaviour of a stalker and the methods they use, it does not negate the risk, say the county's officers responsible for pursuing the crime.

Stalking is defined by fixation and obsession. It is unlikely that these feelings would be quelled by the restrictions of lockdown. A stalker might instead channel their fixation using online tactics.

Lockdown could also give a greater knowledge to a stalker of their victim’s whereabouts while simultaneously leaving a victim feeling more anxious, vulnerable and alone.

This is why the police see it as vital that stalking is a priority. It is vital that victims seek help. If you are in immediate danger, call 999. If it is not an emergency, call 101. If you need someone to talk to, call the Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300.

Detective Chief Inspector Richard Myszczyszyn of Lincolnshire Police's Protecting Vulnerable Persons Unit said: "Stalking is any behaviour which is a pattern of fixated, obsessive, unwanted and repeated behaviour. If you are experiencing behaviour of this nature, it is a crime and needs reporting to us.

"If you are the victim of stalking, please make a report to us by calling 101, but always call 999 in an emergency."

The National Stalking Prevention Week begins today (Monday, April 20) and runs until April 24.

The national prevention week follows last month’s report that a man was served with a court order at Lincoln Magistrates following the online stalking of a woman.

Lincolnshire Police successfully obtained the Stalking Prevention Order (SPO) against a man in his 60’s during a hearing at Lincoln Magistrates on March 11.

This now bans him from:

* Using the internet unless it has the capacity to display internet history

* Making reference to the victim on the internet or social media

* Producing any online or social media materials pretending to have been issued from the victim.

* He is also required to attend a perpetrator intervention programme, provide the police with access to any internet device and passwords to social media accounts.

SPO’s were introduced to protect victims under the Stalking and Protection Act 2019, with the orders being made possible from January 20, 2020.

The order will stay in place indefinitely. The police are able to immediately arrest anyone breaching an SPO and this could result in up to five years imprisonment.

Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones commented: “The use of the new Stalking Protection Orders is another important weapon that can be used in the fight against those despicable offenders who prey on the vulnerable.

“I am united with the force in a determination to protect our residents against any and all forms of harassment, intimidation and violence.

“This first SPO is to be welcomed and I hope it sends a clear signal to both perpetrators and victims that we will not tolerate this kind of behaviour and if people come forward we will do everything in our power to keep them safe and help them recover.”