The findings in today’s report from the Inspectorate of Constabulary and the Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate are unacceptable and highlight widespread failures across the criminal justice system in protecting and supporting victims of harassment and stalking, and bringing perpetrators to justice.
It is deeply worrying that police officers and prosecutors are failing to recognise or understand stalking and treat complaints in isolation rather than looking at the wider picture. While a small proportion of stalkers are strangers, most are known to their victim – the majority are ex-partners (particularly ex-partners who have been abusive) and coercive controlling behaviour is often present. The act of stalking indicates a high risk of serious harm, making identifying it very important and potentially lifesaving. That is why those who enforce justice and protection must have an adequate understanding of this and how fast seemingly insignificant acts can escalate.
This report provides a good opportunity to raise the debate – and, importantly, create real change – around some of the critical and ongoing problems that prevent effective, consistent responses from police forces across Wales and the UK. We want to see greater awareness of the nature and extent of stalking and harassment, improved training and better partnership working with specialist services.
We welcome working together with the Police in Wales in order to increase understanding about stalking, improve responses, improve the safety of women, and to reduce offending by perpetrators.