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Calls for more action as reports of stalking and harassment more than double in Newham over five years

PUBLISHED: 14:00 15 April 2019

Figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal there were five cases of stalking and harassment reported in Newham per day last year. Picture: DOMINIC LIPINSKI

Figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal there were five cases of stalking and harassment reported in Newham per day last year. Picture: DOMINIC LIPINSKI

PA Wire/PA Images

There were five stalking and harassment cases reported every day in Newham last year, figures reveal.

There were five stalking and harassment cases reported every day in Newham last year, figures reveal.

Office for National Statistics data shows that in Newham, 1,821 cases of stalking, harassment or malicious communications were reported between October 2017 and September 2018.

Diana Fawcett, chief officer for the independent charity Victim Support, said: “Any persistent and unwanted attention that makes you feel harassed can be defined as stalking.

“What makes this particularly hard to cope with is that it can go on for a long period of time, leaving victims feeling constantly anxious and afraid.

“Often victims are targeted close to their home, the place where they should feel most safe and people can also now be targeted online, making this experience even more violating.”

Of the three crimes included in the figures stalking is the most serious, and can include following someone, repeatedly going uninvited to their home and monitoring their use of phones and computers.

The number of recorded stalking and harassment cases has more than doubled in Newham over the last five years.

The Home Office says police recording has improved and victims are feeling more confident about coming forward.

But Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), the police watchdog, recently published a report stating that stalking and harassment are not being investigated by police consistently or effectively.

It says there is no single definition of the crime, which means “police forces are not consistently identifying stalking and are not protecting victims as a result”.

HMICFRS adds that forces are not using powers under stalking laws to search perpetrators' homes so investigations are “not as thorough as they could be”.

The watchdog has given the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) six months to adopt a series of recommendations.

The Met only brought charges in five per cent of the stalking and harassment cases investigated.

Overall, the force recorded 46,100 cases over the year of which there were 1,329 stalking offences.

Victim Support provides practical help and emotional support –whether or not an incident has been reported to the police – and can also guide people through the process of reporting.

Anyone seeking help or information can contact the free supportline on 0808 16 89 111 or visit victimsupport.org.uk

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