A campaign has been launched today (Monday (September 30) to encourage more individuals to identify and report cases of stalking across Lincolnshire.
The CrimeStoppers campaign highlights the four telltale signs of stalking – fixated, obsessive, unwanted and repeated – and offers advice on what to do and who to contact.
The launch came at the county’s first ever Stalking Conference, where experts and officials gathered to share experience, best practice and advice on the growing problem.
Last year cases of harassment and stalking reported to Lincolnshire Police exceeded 3,800 – a 270 per cent increase on the previous year.
The Crime Survey of England and Wales reported stalking cases reached nearly 20,000 last year with reports of malicious communications exceeding 207,000.
The 100 plus delegates at the conference in Lincoln heard from Dr Sue Hills, whose daughter Alice was murdered in October 2016 after a relentless campaign of stalking by an ex-boyfriend.
Dr Hills told the conference how her daughter was a confident and strong young woman when she first met soldier Trimaan Dhillon but when she ended the relationship he began to bombard her with text and phone messages, unwanted gifts and threats to commit suicide.
Eventually she reported him to the police, but officers categorized the behaviour as harassment without fear and he was never spoken to by the police before he stabbed Alice six times in her flat.
Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones opened the event, hosted by head of Lincolnshire’s Protecting Vulnerable Persons Unit Det Supt Jon McAdam, with a recorded video supporting the event.
Mr Jones said: “Stalking and harassment is one of those areas that have not been dealt with as well as it could have been in the past.
“It is great to see so many professionals and experts come together to ensure our determination to protect victims delivers results.
“We always endeavour to provide the very best services possible and events such as these help us to ensure we keep abreast of best practice, current research and changes in the law.”
Det Supt McAdam said: “Stalking is happening, it’s hidden and we have to lift the lid on this issue.
“The policing of this problem has come a long way in the last few years and we have made a great deal of positive progress but we must build on that.
“The conference has been a really constructive and progressive step in bringing partners together to tackle this crime.”
Delegates also heard from:
• Inspector Scott Hill – national staff officer from the NPCC stalking and harassment portfolio – and Ian Elliott – assistant portfolio director from HMICFRS
• DC David Thomason and Daniel Price-Jones – from the Cheshire Integrated Anti-stalking Unit
• Sarah Henfrey – from HMPPS intervention services
• Paladin - a charity set up to assist high risk victims of stalking in England and Wales.
• Suzanne McLardy – from Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner
• Lincolnshire Police Cyberstalking Unit
• Liz Bainbridge – mental health and psychological intervention for victims and people who have stalking behaviours, Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.