News Criminal Defence 11th Jul 2017

Stalking Victims Being Put at Risk by Police Failings – Christopher Ware Instructed by HMIC to Advise on Harassment and Stalking Report

Christopher Ware was instructed by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) to advise in respect of the recently published report “Living in fear – the police and CPS response to harassment and stalking”, a joint report by HMIC and Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate.

The joint inspection looked at 112 recent cases of stalking and harassment in depth, and found that every single case had not been dealt with properly.

The report found that crimes of harassment and stalking were often missed or misunderstood by police and prosecutors, and that too many investigations were poorly run and failed to give victims legal protection.

It also stated that police officers were failing to recognise repeated signs of a stalker, by treating each complaint in isolation rather than being part of a pattern. That, in turn, meant police and prosecutors did not see the bigger picture and appreciate the full scale of the harm suffered by the victim. It was found that the severity of the situation was often overlooked and forces needed to improve their understanding of harassment and stalking and identify victims who are at considerable risk.

The report also found prosecutors were charging stalking offences as harassment, meaning it did not reflect the seriousness of the offence, so victims were not getting the support they needed.

The report calls for:

  • A review of the key law on harassment
  • More clearly defined offences
  • Better risk assessments for victims
  • Expanding court orders to cover more circumstances

In her concluding remark, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary, Wendy Williams said “Changes need to be made immediately and the recommendations in the report should be acted upon without delay to protect victims from further harm.”

The report was widely discussed in the national press – to read about it in more detail please follow the links below:

BBC | Sky | ITV | The Times | The Guardian

Categories: News