Start your claim

July 6th 2017

Police Misconduct

Stalking and Harassment Crimes Badly Handled by Police, Report Says

Andrew Petherbridge

Andrew Petherbridge

Legal Executive and Head of Civil Liberties

Stalking and Harassment Crimes Badly Handled by Police, Report Says

Victims of stalking and harassment are being left at risk by the police, a new report suggests, with crimes not being reported and complaints not taken seriously. The report, published by the Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) and the Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI), found that crimes of persistence weren’t logged by police officers, and others weren’t investigated — with poor management offering scant legal protection for victims.

Victims of stalking and harassment are being left at risk by the police, a new report suggests, with crimes not being reported and complaints not taken seriously.

The report, published by the Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) and the Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI), found that crimes of persistence weren’t logged by police officers, and others weren’t investigated — with poor management offering scant legal protection for victims.

Of the 112 cases inspected as part of the report, not a single one was found to have been investigated properly, raising questions about the police’s commitment to victims of stalking and harassment.

In its report, the HMIC spoke to several stalking victims who felt they had been abandoned by the police after reporting a case of harassment. Shockingly, one victim said she was made to feel at fault for receiving abusive social media messages, after a police officer told her she shouldn’t have been on Facebook.

Perhaps the most worrying aspect of the report is the fact that police officers are failing to recognise repeat patterns of stalking and harassment, choosing instead to log incidents as one-off crimes. This means victims repeatedly targeted by a stalker aren’t being safeguarded by authorities, placing them at increased risk of more serious offences such as assault, rape or murder.

This lack of appreciation for the “bigger harassment picture” possibly suggests that police don’t respect the scale of harm and psychological trauma posed by stalkers — or the fear suffered by their victims. The public should expect incidents of harassment to be recorded and investigated thoroughly by the police, and where the required threshold is met, their case should be referred to the CPS.

More Must be Done to Protect Harassment Victims

As part of the joint report between the HMIC and HMCPSI, investigators spoke to Helen Pearson, who reported her stalker to the police 125 times over 5 years. She said police treated her “like a nuisance” and “didn’t know what to do” regarding her harassment, which ended with her being stabbed and left for dead by her abuser.

Helen’s case demonstrates the importance that harassment claims are properly managed and investigated by police, especially when the victim has made similar complaints in the past. Speaking to the BBC, Laura Richards of the Paladin National Stalking Advocacy Service said that too many harassment victims are exposed to “murder in slow motion”, and that the police must do more to educate their officers on recording, investigating and managing stalking crimes.

While police chiefs have pledged to do more to safeguard victims of stalking and improve performance, the current spending cuts and lack of resources may mean that frontline officers continue to overlook the complaints of harassment victims — with potentially disastrous consequences.

If you’ve been let down by the police, click here to find out how our experienced civil liberties lawyers can help you.

What Our Clients Say

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Highly recommended"

Excellent service and communication from start to finish. The whole process of handling my personal injury claim was dealt with quickly and courteously.

MikeNovember 26, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Becci was amazing"

Becci was amazing, she was so friendly and helpful and couldn’t have done a better job at helping me with my claim. Very happy.

Katherine JanineNovember 08, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Quick honest service"

Quick honest service, smooth process with excellent staff

MR COOPEROctober 30, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"HUDGELL SOLICITORS are great lawyers…"

HUDGELL SOLICITORS are great lawyers whit amazing customers service. I got pretty good deal only because of them I'm quite happy I chose Hudgell solicitor.

DominikOctober 30, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Good all round service"

Good all round service

John AndrewOctober 19, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Efficient"

Quick, efficient service provided by Jayne Woodock. Would definitely contact Hudgell Solicitors again in the future if the need arises

KerryOctober 10, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Thank you"

I have never had to go down the route of claiming for anything like this so when I was advised to do so I did some research and Hugell Solicitors caught my eye. And I’m so glad I picked them, everything was explained well and helped with any questions I…

ZoeOctober 04, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"No problems from start to finish for my…"

No problems from start to finish for my claim.Kept updated regularly and a good outcome even though the defendants were being evasive. Thanks.

r3monkeyOctober 03, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Excellent"

Very professional,efficient service,informative and friendly service. I would highly recommend Hudgell solicitors.

HelenOctober 01, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Good experience"

Good experience

Margaret ElizabethAugust 31, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Excellent"

Friendly, helpful and professional.

M J JAugust 09, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"I would recommend this firm of…solicitor to anyone"

I would recommend this firm of solicitor to anyone I have had a 5 star treatment from Jayne woodcock I cant praise her enough she kept me informed every step of my claim and I cannot thank her enough excellent Jimmy Mcdermott

Jimmy McJuly 28, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Very helpful and thorough"

Very helpful and thorough. The team kept me updated throughout. Thank you

EsmeJuly 25, 2019