County’s first ever ‘stalking ban’ issued today
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A 37-year-old man has been issued with the county’s first ever Stalking Protection Order (SPO) following a number of domestic stalking and harassment allegations.
The Northampton man was issued with the interim SPO at Northampton Magistrates’ Court today (Friday, May 29). The order prevents him from contacting the victim or members of the victim’s family. If he breaches this order he will be arrested and he would then face up to a year behind bars.
The current SPO will last until Friday, July 3 when police will apply for a full order. Breach of that can result in up to five years’ imprisonment.
The force’s Head of Adult Safeguarding, Detective Chief Inspector Andy Glenn, said: “I am very pleased we have had Northamptonshire’s first Stalking Prevention Order approved by the court today.
“We understand the impact stalking can have on victims – it can be terrifying and can affect every aspect of their lives. Today’s SPO demonstrates how seriously we take allegations of this type. We will fully investigate any reports and will leave no stone unturned to build a case and get the behaviour stopped.
“Harassment and stalking can be complex to identify and understand and we have rolled out training across the force to ensure officers have the tools and expertise to recognise the behaviour and do all they can to protect victims.
“We will not stop in our efforts to ensure offenders are brought before the courts and victims are made safe so they can move on with their lives without the anxiety and distress stalking brings.”
Stephen Mold, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for the county, said: “I’m well aware that being a victim of stalking has an enormous impact on someone’s life and I’ve heard first hand from a colleague about how very devastating it can be, so I’m pleased that Northamptonshire Police has used this new power to ask for a Stalking Protection Order for the first time. Safeguarding victims is at the heart of my Police and Crime Plan and these Orders are a vital additional protection to support someone who is vulnerable.”
Between January 2020 (when SPOs were introduced) and March, there were 144 stalking offences recorded by Northamptonshire Police. This is a 97.3% increase on the 73 recorded in the same three months of 2019. The current COVID 19 pandemic has seen an increase in reported stalking offences and SPOs are a valuable new tool to help protect victims.
Stalking Protection Orders are a powerful new tool, giving police Forces the power to further protect victims of stalking and harassment. They were introduced on Monday, 20 January of this year and were designed to improve the safety of victims and those affected by stalking.
Stalking is a crime which can often go undetected due to victims being unaware of the signs. It is a pattern of fixated, obsessive, unwanted and repeated behaviour.
If you are the victim of stalking, we encourage you to report to us by calling 101 and always calling 999 in an emergency. The force works with a number of partner agencies, who are available to provide support to victims and their families. These include: