WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
April 22 2024
WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
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Police inaction raises concern over approach to victim stalking

Police inaction raises concern over approach to victim stalking

In England and Wales, only 5% of stalking cases reported to the police result in a charge. Campaigners raise concerns that police officers are incorrectly investigating and approaching reports of stalking offences which are currently on the rise, resulting in a breakdown of victim protection and police security, the National Stalking Consortium claims.

The police’s failure to charge suspects is due to officers’ inability to identify criminal patterns of behaviour, repeatedly treating incidents malicious communications or criminal damage as lower level crimes, and using stalking protection orders insufficiently.

Founder of the Consortium and CEO of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, Suky Bhaker, declared that stalking victims are being significantly failed by the Courts and the Police ‘at every step of their journey to justice’. ‘The failure to identify and investigate stalking at the earliest possible opportunity results in an increasing risk of physical and psychological harm to the victim,’ Bhaker stated.

In 2021, Grace Spinks, aged 23, was killed by her former colleague Michael Sellers after he became ‘infatuated’ with her. Spinks’ parents stated that victims of stalking should not fear reporting to the police in the view that the police will not take action or investigate enough.

Following her death, her parents created a campaign for Gracie’s Law in hope that the government would allow funding for stalking advocates for police forces. The force subject to her investigation stated:

“Derbyshire Constabulary can confirm that five officers will be subject to a misconduct meeting following an IOPC independent investigation into police contact with Gracie Spinks, prior to her murder in June 2021.”

Army soldier Trimaan Dhillon successfully managed to break into his ex-girlfriends flat, Alice Ruggles who was 24 years of age, and murdered her. A review found that Northumbria Police and the army significantly failed to recognise the signs of his obsessive and jealous behaviour and lacked the appropriate training to deal with this conduct.

Ruggles’ father stated the importance of improved training for police officers to ensure signs of stalking are properly investigated, in addition to changing mindsets to understand how dangerous stalking is. “We need multi-agency support, much better support for multi-agency working because it’s not just about the criminal justice response,” he stated. “You’ve got to raise a generation who are shocked when they see stalking in the news. I think too many people still think of stalking as a bit of a joke – or something that happens to other people”