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Cheshire Constabulary dispels myth on ‘typical’ stalker

Cheshire Constabulary is dispelling the myth around a ‘typical stalker’ in a bid to raise awareness on what stalking is and keep people safe.

The awareness raising campaign runs throughout National Stalking Awareness Week (22 – 26 April), a week-long focus on stalking ran by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust.

When many people hear the word ‘stalker’ – they think of a stranger lurking in the shadows or a delusional fan following a celebrity. While this covers some stalking scenarios, they are by no means the majority.

In Cheshire, around 90% of all stalking offences recorded involve an ex-partner and on average, ten stalking crimes are recorded per day.

Stalking can have both an emotional and psychological impact on those it affects, and it is important that anyone who experiences any stalking behaviours reports it to the police before it goes too far – they will be believed. 

Stalking behaviours to look out for:

  • Fixation on your daily routine – this could involve following you, watching your every move, using a tracking device on you or on your vehicle.
  • Constant obsessive and repeated communication – endless phone calls, messages, or contacting people known to you.
  • Threatening and intimidating behaviour towards you or someone you know – threatening suicide, last resort thinking or sending death threats.
  • Repeated unwanted attention or ‘love bombing’ – they could make unannounced visits to your home or workplace, send you unwanted gifts, or make declarations of love constantly.
  • Unwanted sexual contact – sexual assault, sexual harassment, unwanted touching.
  • Resorts to criminal behaviour to gain your attention or cause fear – they could break into your home or vehicle or cause damage to your property or belongings.

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The Force has a dedicated Harm Reduction Unit, which is a specialist risk management service delivered by Cheshire Constabulary in conjunction with Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and the Probation Service.

The unit is made up of a dedicated investigation team and specialist victim advocates who support victims through the criminal justice process.

Cheshire Constabulary’s Stalking Single Point of Contact, Detective Sergeant Dave Thomason, of the Harm Reduction Unit, said:

“Stalking is a crime that should not be ignored. Stalking behaviours can quickly escalate and become more serious, particularly if an offender gets to a place of ‘last resort thinking’.

“I want to reassure the public that if you believe you are experiencing stalking, then we are here to help you and you will be believed. Cheshire currently has the highest charge rate in the country for stalking and harassment and has recently issued the county’s first GPS tag on a stalking offender after securing a five-year stalking protection order. Stalking is an unacceptable crime and our efforts to protect victims and bring offenders to justice will continue.

“If you experience a pattern of fixated or obsessive behaviour, which is repeated, persistent and clearly unwanted – then Cheshire Police want to know about it.”

Throughout the week, the Constabulary will be raising awareness of the different stalking behaviours across its social media channels.

They will also highlight the affects stalking can have through real life messages shared by victims - with hope that people recognise these effects on themselves and report it.

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The Constabulary will also be demonstrating how victims can report incidents of stalking through the Force’s online portal – with reports dealt with by the Force Control Centre in exactly the same way whether you report online or speak to an officer directly.

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You can follow Cheshire Police on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), Instagram and TikTok to find out more.

You can also follow along through the hashtags #NSAW2024 #JoinForcesAgainstStalking 

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