Report Says Police Are Not Effectively Investigating Stalking Cases

10 April 2019, 08:05 | Updated: 10 April 2019, 08:22

Police are not properly investigating stalking and harassment offences.
Police are not properly investigating stalking and harassment offences. Picture: PA

Police forces across England and Wales are being told to improve how they handle stalking and harassment cases following a report into the murder of a teenager by her ex.

The report says that cases of stalking and harassment have increased by more than 40 per cent across England and Wales over the last two years.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) published its findings after an inquiry was ordered after the murder of Shana Grice by her ex-boyfriend.

Shana had reported Michael Lane to Sussex Police five times over a six month period, but was fined £90 for wasting police time.

Michael Lane was sentenced to life, with a minimum term of 25 years for her murder.

Following the murder Sussex police’s handling of the case was investigated by the police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Sussex, Katy Bourne said that Sussex Police are on a journey of improvement & show good progress, "but many Forces not even on the path yet.”

The watchdog’s report said the Sussex force must improve training to help officers respond better to stalking and harassment victims, and improve the risk assessment process to better protect victims of repeat offences.

“We are concerned that Sussex Police’s response to victims of stalking or harassment is not always as effective and consistent as it could be. This is because not all officers have received enhanced stalking training,” the report said.

HMICFRS say that they remain “concerned that there is no single definition of stalking that all police forces and government departments have adopted.”

Separately, The Independent Office for Police Conduct has announced that three Sussex Police officers are now facing disciplinary action following the handling of Ms Grice’s case.

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