In today’s report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) and Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) about the police and CPS response to stalking and harassment, Hampshire Constabulary’s Stalking Clinic is highlighted as best practice, a service funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner.
This is the first time inspectors have carried out inspections of harassment and stalking. HMIC and HMCPSI inspected six police forces including Hampshire Constabulary, and six CPS areas. Recommendations have been made to the Home Office, College of Policing, National Police Chiefs’ Council, Crown Prosecution Service and police forces in England and Wales.
Michael Lane, Police and Crime Commissioner, said:
“I am very pleased that the inspectors have recognised the good practice within Hampshire Constabulary, in particular the Stalking Clinic and the victim advocate service, which I fund through my office.”
“I welcome this recognition of the unique services the Constabulary provide, in particular to support the vulnerable victims of these offences with a multi-agency partnership approach. The Constabulary and I will take the recommendations from this report forward to build on this best practice and improve the service given to victims.”
The aim of Hampshire’s Stalking Clinic is to provide a forum for the identification, referral, consultation, case formation and risk assessment of stalking cases. A multi-agency panel reviews high-risk stalking cases using the stalking risk profile assessment process.
Hampshire’s independent stalking advocacy service provides support and advice to both victims and agencies that work with victims of stalking. The independent stalking advocate is a highly trained specialist who works closely with other support agencies, including Independent Domestic Violence Advisers (IDVAs), and the constabulary’s single points of contact (SPOCs) for stalking. Referrals to the service are made by the police as well as other agencies.
Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary, Wendy Williams, who led the inspection, said: “We spoke to many victims of harassment and stalking during this inspection and found that these are crimes of persistence and control. Repeat patterns of behaviour can have a devastating effect on a person’s quality of life. Sadly, in the digital world, crimes of harassment and stalking are occurring more frequently.
“Police forces must act quickly to protect victims, including survivors of domestic abuse leaving coercive or controlling relationships. It is not acceptable that victims and their families are left to live in fear, or have to change their lives because of someone else’s behaviour.”