Bedfordshire Police urge greater recognition of stalking behaviour during week of awareness

National Stalking Awareness Week runs until Friday, April 24

By Holly Patel
Monday, 20th April 2020, 2:05 pm
Updated Monday, 20th April 2020, 2:06 pm

During National Stalking Awareness Week Bedfordshire Police is reminding victims of stalking offences that help is still available and police will investigate, despite the national restrictions in place to combat the spread of Covid-19.

Stalking behaviour is most often about the coercion and control by one person of another, and early recognition of the signs can prevent escalation, and even more serious offences occurring - Stalking has been linked to some of the most high harm crimes, including domestic abuse, sexual offences and murder.

The mnemonic FOUR, which stands for Fixated, Obsessive, Unwanted, Repeated, illustrates the signs of stalking, and its associated behaviours, and figures show that, on average, victims will suffer up to 100 incidents before they feel compelled to report to police.

Stalking Awareness Week logo

Detective Inspector Katherine Rivers, the force’s lead on stalking, said: "The fixated and obsessive nature of perpetrators is unlikely to be affected by the restrictions currently upon us and may make some even more determined to reach their victims by other means; for example via social media, email or messaging apps, or by exploiting knowledge of daily routines, such as shopping or exercise.

“This can have a devastating impact on victims, their families and communities, causing fear and distress, and affecting physical and mental health, leaving victims feeling unsafe, isolated and terrified, even in their own homes.

“I would urge anyone with concerns to contact the police, even if you’re not sure that a crime has been committed.”

Since commencement in January this year, new Stalking Protection Orders (SPO) can give an effective, early means of dealing with an offender, and can apply to any case of stalking.

SPO also bans offenders from contacting victims while an investigation is being carried out, and breaching the order could result in up to five years in jail.

It will also force the perpetrator to seek help, and by addressing the underlying issues, could help reduce re-offending.

National Stalking Awareness Week runs until Friday, April 24

To report stalking, call police on 101. In the case of an emergency, always dial 999. Support is available by calling the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300.