It is National Stalking Awareness Week, and so I want to tell you a bit more about stalking and what we are doing here in Dorset to address this dangerous and insidious crime.

In a recent report published by The Suzy Lamplugh Trust it states that stalking affects one in five women and one in ten men throughout their lifetimes, with approximately 1.5 million people being stalked annually.

I’m sure you will agree that is a shocking statistic and one that needs addressing.

Stalking behaviours can be carried out in person, online or through social media, or by telephone or other means. Stalking is intrusive and can cause fear of violence or cause serious alarm or distress to victims and their families and may escalate to physical harm. Sometimes victims may not realise that the behaviour is stalking, so it is important to remember the “F.O.U.R.” pattern of behaviour in order to recognise it.

In cases of stalking there is a pattern of Fixated, Obsessive, Unwanted and Repeated behaviour by an offender towards a victim. The mnemonic “F.O.U.R” is a good one to remember to identify the pattern of behaviour which means it’s stalking.

Anyone who is being subjected to such behaviours is encouraged to reach out to the police or partner agencies for support, safeguarding and a resolution which may include the perpetrator being charged with a criminal offence.

Dorset Police already has in place a number of Stalking Protection Orders (SPOs) designed specifically to give reassurance and protection to victims and I am pleased to say that I have financially committed to ensuring the immediate future of the Independent Stalking Advocacy Caseworker (ISAC) service that You Trust/Paragon provide.

The ISAC is an important role that delivers support to victims of stalking by guiding them through the criminal justice system and providing advice and guidance.

I have also commissioned Victim Support to provide support to victims of crime in Dorset and they too will provide the help needed to victims of stalking.

I want to make sure everyone knows about stalking, what it is, how it effects people and of course, where to get help. I would encourage anyone who believes they have been a victim of stalking to have the confidence to come forward and contact Dorset Police, Victim Support Dorset or the National Stalking Helpline.

David Sidwick

Police and Crime Commissioner