Hampshire police’s ‘stalking clinic’ praised in inspection

Hampshire police and crime commissioner Michael Lane
Hampshire police and crime commissioner Michael Lane
Fire crews rescued a man from an overturned lorry at a housing development in Waterlooville on April 5. Picture: Jeff Coates

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A STALKING and harassment service that covers the whole of Hampshire has been highlighted by government inspectors.

In today’s report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) and Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI), Hampshire Constabulary’s stalking clinic is highlighted as best practice.

It is funded by Police and Crime Commissioner Michael Lane.

The clinic’s aim is to provide a forum for the identification, referral, consultation, case formation and risk assessment of stalking cases. A panel reviews stalking cases using the stalking risk profile assessment process.

It involves the police, CPS, National Probation Service, NHS foundation trusts, and Aurora New Dawn, a charity in Havant that works with survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence.

Perpetrators can be referred for mental health treatment, or for more robust management under MAPPA.

Mr Lane said: ‘I’m very pleased that the inspectors have recognised the good practice within Hampshire Constabulary, in particular the stalking clinic and the victim advocate service, which I fund through my office.

‘I welcome this recognition of the unique services the constabulary provide, in particular to support the vulnerable victims of these offences.

‘The constabulary and I will take the recommendations from this report forward to build on this best practice and improve the service given to victims.’

This is the first time inspections surrounding harassment and stalking have been carried out, and HMIC and HMCPSI inspected six police forces including Hampshire Constabulary, and six CPS areas.

Across the country, victims of harassment and stalking are being left at risk by the police and Crown Prosecution Service with the report finding ‘worrying failings at every stage’.

People who have suffered repeated harassment or stalking are often being let down by under-recording, inconsistent services and a lack of understanding by the criminal justice system, according to the report published by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) and Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI).

Recommendations have been made to the Home Office, College of Policing, National Police Chiefs’ Council, Crown Prosecution Service and police forces in England and Wales.

Hampshire’s independent stalking advocacy service provides support and advice to both victims and agencies that work with victims of stalking. The independent stalking advocate is a specialist who works closely with other support agencies, including Independent Domestic Violence Advisers (IDVAs), and the constabulary’s single points of contact (SPOCs) for stalking. Referrals to the service are made by the police as well as other agencies.

Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary, Wendy Williams, who led the inspection, said: ‘We spoke to many victims of harassment and stalking during this inspection and found that these are crimes of persistence and control.

‘Repeat patterns of behaviour can have a devastating effect on a person’s quality of life. Sadly, in the digital world, crimes of harassment and stalking are occurring more frequently.

‘Police forces must act quickly to protect victims, including survivors of domestic abuse leaving coercive or controlling relationships. It is not acceptable that victims and their families are left to live in fear, or have to change their lives because of someone else’s behaviour.’