Number of stalking incidents in Suffolk more than doubled last year
PUBLISHED: 17:26 13 April 2018 | UPDATED: 17:26 13 April 2018
The number of stalking incidents in Suffolk more than doubled last year, new figures reveal.
The statistics were released by police ahead of National Stalking Awareness Week, which starts on Monday and is focused on showcasing work to support victims and highlight best practice.
Suffolk Constabulary said the number of stalking incidents recorded during 2017 was 253, compared with 108 in 2016.
The force said that, despite the figures, a lack of reporting is an issue and officers hope the national week of action will encourage victims to speak out.
The hashtag #ReportingStalking is being used by the campaign as a way to highlight issues.
DS Eamonn Bridger, who heads Suffolk Constabulary’s protecting vulnerable people directorate, said: “Stalking isn’t just about strangers lurking in the shadows or obsessive fans following celebrities.
“The greatest numbers of stalking offences are by individuals who know their victim. This can include ex-partners or someone you have had some sort of prior acquaintance with e.g. someone you may have dated or have been friends with. This is still stalking and it is wrong.
“Stalking can consist of many types of behaviour. Greater use of social media and digital technology means that offenders now have many additional ways to harass their victims.
“If the behaviour is persistent and clearly unwanted causing fear, harassment or anxiety, then it is stalking and you should not have to live with it.
“We often see the huge emotional impact on victims, they can feel very alone and are worried about seeking help for fear of repercussions or are concerned that they will not be listened to.”
Stalking is repeated unwanted contact from one person to another, which demonstrates either a fixation or obsession and causes the victim to feel alarm, distress or fear of violence. It may involve personal contact but also via the phone, email, letter or social media.
Tim Passmore, Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner, said: “Stalking can have a devastating impact on victims’ lives, with the threat of being stalked leading them to live in fear and stop their usual daily routines.
“Nobody should have to put up with such unpleasant and intrusive behaviour.
“I fully support this week to raise awareness, it is important that we show victims that the constabulary takes reports of stalking very seriously and that help is at hand.”