David Cameron will announce tougher laws on stalking in England and Wales as he meets victims today, sources said.
The Prime Minister will meet stalking victims and campaigners at a Downing Street reception on International Women’s Day as amendments are made to the Government’s Protection of Freedoms Bill to crack down on stalkers.
Mr Cameron confirmed at Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons yesterday that he wanted to look at a specific offence of stalking.
The move comes after a parliamentary inquiry called for a new offence to be brought in immediately to stop harassment and intimidation turning to murder.
But MPs and peers from all parties warned that a new law alone would not be enough to protect victims and that “fundamental reform” of the system was needed.
Plaid Cymru parliamentary leader Elfyn Llwyd, the inquiry’s chairman, said: “The Prime Minister’s invitation to Number 10 signals a promising development that will hopefully result in a change to the current inadequate law.
“Despite not receiving any concrete assurances yet, the Prime Minister’s commitment to this issue is clear and I’m quietly confident. I find it hard to imagine that he would invite us all to Downing Street just to slap us down.”
Laura Richards, a psychologist who was an adviser to the inquiry, also welcomed the moves saying that victims were being repeatedly let down by criminal justice agencies in a “scandal that cannot continue”.
It follows a year-long campaign by the charity Protection Against Stalking and the probation union officers’ union Napo.
Campaigners have warned that anything less than a specific law on stalking might fall short of solving the problems with the current system.
The inquiry heard some 120,000 victims, mostly women, are stalked each year but only 53,000 are recorded as crimes by police.