Thousands of stalking and harassment offences in Newham in 2020

Figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal there were five cases of stalking and harassm

Office for National Statistics data reveals there were more than six cases of stalking and harassment reported in Newham per day last year. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Stalking and harassment reports rose by 13 per cent last year in Newham, new data has revealed.

The latest crime survey for England and Wales by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) sets out how many offences by crime category were recorded in the borough in the 12 months to December 2020.

It says there were 2,380 reported stalking and harassment offences in Newham last year - 278 more reports compared with the year before (2,102). 

The ONS says changes in Home Office counting rules were expected to cause an increase in recorded offences.

A Met spokesperson said: “The Metropolitan Police, in partnership with the London Borough of Newham, is committed to supporting survivors of domestic abuse and bringing perpetrators to justice. 

“We have seen more victims having the confidence to report stalking offences to police.

“We urge all victims of harassment, stalking and all other forms of domestic abuse and violence to come forward at the earliest opportunity so that we can support them and hold perpetrators to account.”

From April 2020, controlling and coercive behaviour was categorised under the stalking and harassment offence category.

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Other offences in the category include harassment, racially or religiously motivated harassment, stalking and malicious communications.

The ONS crime survey revealed total crime dropped eight per cent overall in Newham in 2020 amid Covid-19 restrictions.

Reports decreased in most offence categories last year compared with the previous 12 months, particularly the number of burglaries, robberies and thefts.

Shoplifting dropped 22 per cent, amounting to almost 500 fewer incidents, and non-residential burglary fell 26 per cent.

The exception was bicycle thefts, which jumped 19 per cent from 524 to 621.

The overall decrease is consistent with a national fall of eight per cent in total police recorded crime, driven mainly by theft offences.

Sophie Sanders from the ONS Centre for Crime and Justice said: "Although a small proportion of fluctuations will be the result of seasonal effects on crime trends, the majority can be attributed to the introduction and subsequent easing of national lockdown restrictions throughout the year."