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A Leicestershire police officer has helped shape calls for a new stalking law. Detective Inspector Pete Williams gave evidence to the Independent Parliamentary Inquiry into Stalking Law Reform, and was invited to the launch of its report on Tuesday, February 7.

 

The report calls for a specific stalking law, improved treatment for offenders, and more training for those working within criminal justice professions.

DI Williams is quoted in the panel’s report, which was agreed by MPs and peers from all the main political parties.

DI Williams said: “I started working with victims of stalking in Leicester from 2005. It can have a devastating effect – and because it is often carried out over a long period of time people can end up losing their jobs, their friends, their property and everything around them. Many domestic homicides have a stalking element in the lead up to the main offence. What this means is that there are opportunities to intervene early and prevent more serious harm.

“Some people see it as a joke, in a way that they don’t with other serious crimes, but the effects of stalking can be just as severe. This culture needs to change so that the consequences are not hidden or such behaviour trivialised.”

Leicestershire Police says that it has been at the forefront of a number of innovative developments to tackle stalking within the current law. The force launched an electronic risk assessment last year for stalking, harrasment and domestic abuse, and is about to introduce an 11-question stalking risk assessment, which will guide officers in judging how serious a case is and therefore what resources should be used in tackling it. This will apply to non domestic as well as domestic stalking.

But DI Williams said a new law was needed, which should give greater weight to the victim’s perspective and ensure a consistent police response that met the needs of the victim was able to be delivered on every occasion.

He added: “While we might arrest an offender and impose a restraining order, that only has a successful outcome in a minority of cases. What is really effective in stopping stalking behaviour towards another person is treatment to address underlying mental health conditions. I would personally welcome the opportunity to work more closely with key partners to prevent this revolving door policy.”

He was one of four police officers invited to give evidence to the inquiry. He is a member of the Home Office national stalking strategy group and single point of contact for the National Stalking Helpline in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

The report can be viewed at: http://www.protectionagainststalking.org/InquiryReportFinal.pdf


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