Police officers receive dedicated training to tackle stalking

Police across Yorkshire have confirmed they are training dedicated officers and staff to respond to stalking offences following a surge in the number of crimes reported.

More than 50,000 reports of stalking and harassment have been reported to police across Yorkshire, latest figures show.

The training comes as senior police figures reveal there could be thousands more offences not reported by victims.

Latest figures show there were more than 50,000 reports of stalking and harassment reported to police forces across Yorkshire in the 12 months up to September 2018, a rise of 53 per cent.

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Both West Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Police reported a 47 per cent increase of offences reported to them. The figures show there were 26,096 offences reported to the West Yorkshire force and 15,246 cases to the South Yorkshire force.

A total of 7,051 reports of stalking and harassment were reported to Humberside Police during the same time period - a rise of 95 per cent.

There was also a 75 per cent rise in the offences reported to North Yorkshire Police, with officers recording 2,283 incidents.

Chloe, who is in her mid-20s and did not want to divulge other personal details to protect her identity, has spoken of her year of hell at the hands of her stalker, a man who she worked with.

She said: “It started with him following me out of work at lunch and just got progressively worse, to the point where he was making false claims that I had been raped and was making up social media accounts to contact me and my family.

“He told my friends and family he was going to kill me and that’s when I knew I had to report him to the police.”

The man was reported to a Yorkshire police force which investigated thoroughly.

He was charged and given a 16-month prison sentence and an indefinite restraining order after he was found guilty of harassment.

Chloe said: “This has allowed me to try and move on with my life.”

Police say they take stalking and harassment “very seriously” and have dedicated training for officers and staff.

Detective Superintendent Jon Morgan, from West Yorkshire Police’s Safeguarding Central Governance Unit, said: “We have changed our policy on the use of harassment notices and have put in place dedicated training for our officers and staff to help raise awareness of what constitutes harassment and stalking and best practice in investigating these offences.

“We also regularly review cases and continue to work closely with the CPS to secure the best outcomes for victims.”

South Yorkshire Police said frontline officers and call handlers are currently receiving training in relation to crimes of stalking and harassment.

The forces state reports of stalking have increased due to new Home Office recording rules.