More than four stalking and harassment cases every day in the East Riding, figures show

Office for National Statistics data shows that in the East Riding of Yorkshire, 1,669 cases of stalking, harassment or malicious communications were reported between October 2017 and September 2018.
Office for National Statistics data shows that in the East Riding of Yorkshire, 1,669 cases of stalking, harassment or malicious communications were reported between October 2017 and September 2018.

There were more than four stalking and harassment cases reported every day in the East Riding of Yorkshire last year, figures reveal.

Office for National Statistics data shows that in the East Riding of Yorkshire, 1,669 cases of stalking, harassment or malicious communications were reported between October 2017 and September 2018.

Of the three crimes included in the figures stalking is the most serious, and can include following someone, repeatedly going uninvited to their home and monitoring their use of phones and computers.

Over the last five years, the number of recorded stalking and harassment cases has increased 14-fold in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

The Home Office says police recording has improved and victims are feeling more empowered to come forward.

However, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services, the police watchdog, recently published a report stating that stalking and harassment are not being investigated by police consistently or effectively.

It says there is no single definition of the crime, which means “police forces are not consistently identifying stalking and are not protecting victims as a result”.

HMICFRS adds that forces are not using powers under stalking laws to search perpetrators’ homes so investigations are “not as thorough as they could be”.

The watchdog has given the National Police Chiefs’ Council six months to adopt a series of recommendations.

Lucy Hadley, campaigns and public affairs manager at Women’s Aid, commented: “It is concerning that police forces are continuing to fall short when it comes to effectively handle stalking and harassment cases and give the appropriate level of support that survivors desperately need.

“It can be a matter of life or death that the police give the right response in stalking cases.”

Overall, the force recorded 7,000 cases over the 12-month period. Of those, there were 118 stalking offences.

The most common crime reported was harassment. Women’s Aid has been working with the police on the Make Yourself Heard campaign, on how to safely dial 999 when it is too dangerous to speak.

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd, from the NPCC, said: “The police service receives 12 million 999 calls each year and a small, but important number need to use the silent solution.”

Police say a silent emergency call on its own will not bring assistance, however a victim can alert the call handler by coughing, tapping keys or pressing 55.