The report made a number of recommendations including stopping the use of Police Information Notices (PINS), ensuring officers have a good working knowledge of the legislation, for example, powers of entry and searching and working with partners to ensure there is a holistic approach within the county to support victims and address offender behaviour.
Assistant Chief Counstable Shaun West said the police force was pledging to respond to all those recommendations, while going further by adopting the Authorised Professional Practice (APP) programme published by the College of Policing, working to understand the scale of stalking and harassment in Lincolnshire, working with local partners, tackling under-reporting and encouraging victims to come forward and tackling perpertrators at an early stage.
Welcoming HMIC’s report, he said: “Getting this right, first time and every time, is crucial. Stalking and harassment starts with unwanted behaviour; incidents can happen slowly over many months and the fixated threat, which is part of stalking, can be missed. We need to stop these offences from escalating,” he said.
“Victims need confidence in the police service to report crimes. We need to make sure our response is as it should be and deal effectively with perpetrators at the first opportunity.”
“We already have a wide ranging review on-going into stalking and harassment within the county, following that review, I will work with our partners to provide the best possible service we can.”
Since April 2016 and up to the end of March 2017, Lincolnshire Police has recorded 936 crimes of harassment, racially or religiously aggravated harassment or stalking.
The figures show 914 people have reported a crime of harassment, while only nine people have reported being victims of a stalking offence.
Ninety-one people reported a crime of harassment in July 2016, with 80 reporting in November and 83 in January 2017.
National statistics show that one in five women and one in 10 men will experience stalking in their adult life.
Victims do not tend to report to the police until the 100th incident.
One in two domestic stalkers, if they make a threat, will act on it
One in 10 stalkers, who had no prior relationship, if they make a threat will act on it
Anyone who experiences stalking or harassment should call Lincolnshire Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.