More than three cases of stalking and harassment in Havering were reported everyday in 2017, figures reveal
PUBLISHED: 07:00 07 May 2018
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There were more than 1,100 cases of stalking, harassment or malicious communications reported in the borough last year, figures have revealed.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released for the first time police recorded crime data on these crimes at a local level.
It shows that during 2017 in Havering, there were 1,173 cases reported - this is equivalent to more than three everyday.
Senior service delivery manager for Victim Support in Havering Tara Poore said: “Any persistent and unwanted attention that makes you feel pestered and harassed can be defined as stalking.
“What makes this particularly hard to cope with is that it can go on for a long period of time, leaving victims feeling constantly anxious and afraid. People can also now be targeted online, which can make this experience even more violating.
“It’s important that people understand there is support available to them.
“We provide specialist practical help and emotional support – whether or not the incident has been reported to the police – and we can also guide people through the process of reporting, should they wish to do so.”
In Havering stalking and harassment has increased by 31pc over the past two years, from 897 cases in 2015.
The ONS advises these changes could be down to improved reporting by the police.
The government is currently passing a Stalking Protection Bill, and has said it is giving £4.1 million to the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, a charity which campaigns to reduce the risk of violence and aggression, to better educate police officers about stalking and harassment.
The bill will create new civil Stalking Protection Orders to help victims earlier and breaching the order could result in up to five years in prison.
A Home Office spokeswoman said: “Stalking can have terrifying consequences, which is why this government is working to protect victims and stop perpetrators at the earliest opportunity.
“These orders will make it possible to intervene in cases before concerning behaviours become entrenched and escalate in severity, especially in cases of ‘stranger stalking’.”