More than 4000 stalking and harassment crimes reported across Wiltshire in one year

There were 4,102 stalking and harassment crimes across Wiltshire in just twelve months.

Wiltshire Police released the figures as part of National Stalking Awareness Week.

They show a 4% increase on the previous year, which saw 3,926 crimes recorded between April 2020 and March 2021.

The force is now highlighting the advice and support available to victims of stalking and harassment.

They are working with the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, and charity that helps those affected by the crime and also runs a national stalking helpline.

Supt Sarah Robbins said:  "We remain absolutely committed to protecting victims of stalking. These offences have a significant, often life-changing impact on victims and, without appropriate, early intervention, the risk of harm can quickly escalate.

"An awareness week like this is just one of the examples of how we, along with our partner agencies, are trying to tackle such a serious crime.

"Over the past few years we have put in place stalking champions, to provide specialist advice to officers dealing with these types of cases, as well as informative step-by-step guides and training for our frontline officers and staff.

"We've also worked closely with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), as well as the government, to roll out Stalking Protection Orders, which can be used as an additional tool to protect victims."

Supt Robbins added that more needs to be done: "Some in roads have been made and there has been a huge amount of work around raising awareness of stalking offences, the importance of reporting this and what help and support there is available. This has led to an increase in reports.

"However, there is always more to be done and we are committed to working with the national stalking consortium and associated charities to continue to improve outcomes.

"I would urge anyone who believes they may be the subject of stalking to come forward at the earliest opportunity and report their concerns to the police so we can work with them to make sure they are safe and protected from harm."

Advice from Wiltshire Police on how to deal with stalking and harassment behaviour:

  • Keep a record with times, venue and description of what happened; write down information as soon as possible when events are still fresh in your mind

  • Record how the suspect looked and sounded - what they were wearing and the make and number plate of any vehicle involved

  • Stay alert and aware of your surroundings at all times

  • Think about your phone settings - use a PIN with random numbers; turn off geo-location services in camera apps and your mobile settings; don't use apps that tell you where friends are, check you in etc.

  • Report it