Stalking and harassment in Wales rises by a third as police warn risks 'may be more pronounced' during lockdown

The number of stalking and harassment cases in Wales rose by a third last year, latest crime figures released by the Office for National Statistics show.

Police forces across Wales recorded a 33 per cent rise in the year ending December 2019, with Dyfed-Powys Police seeing the most dramatic upsurge with 146 per cent.

Dyfed-Powys Police warned that stalking and harassment is "unlikely to reduce during the lockdown".

The force warned cases "may be more pronounced" as it marked National Stalking Awareness Week.

75 per cent of calls to the National Stalking Helpline are from people who have been stalked by some kind of technologically-assisted means. Credit: PA Images

The figures also revealed a 22 per cent rise in stalking and harassment reports for Gwent Police and a 29 per cent rise for North Wales Police.

South Wales Police saw a 26 per cent rise. The force also saw the highest number of reports overall, with 14,854 offences.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Jones, Dyfed-Powys Police added: "We are fully committed to doing all that we can to bring offenders to justice and safeguard victims and during this week, we will be raising awareness of stalking, behaviour traits to look out for, how to report concerns and which organisations can provide support.

“I would always urge anyone who believes they may be subject of stalking to come forward at the earliest opportunity and report their concerns to police so we can work with them to protect them.”

The National Stalking Helpline said it responds to over 3,500 requests for help every year, with around 75 per cent of calls from people who have been stalked by some kind of technologically-assisted means.

It said in most of cases perpetrators use a variety of different means to stalk their victims, both offline and online.

Knife crime incidents hit record level in England and Wales last year. Credit: PA Images

The figures showed overall crime in Wales rose by five per cent, while the number of drug-related offences rose by seven per cent.

The number of knife crimes in England and Wales was the highest on record last year, up 7 per cent on the previous 12 months.

Police-recorded offences involving a knife or sharp instrument rose to 45,627 for the year to December.

The figures do not include Greater Manchester Police, who record data differently.