Kent Police is supporting the Suzy Lamplugh’s national campaign, Unmasking Stalking: A Changing Landscape, to raise awareness of stalking and the recent changes in perpetrator behaviour.

From Monday 19th April to Friday 23rd April 2021 Kent Police will be joining police forces across the country to highlight how Covid-19 has caused changes in stalking behaviours, notably a rise in cyber elements.

Digital and online stalking methods include messaging through any platform, contact or other interaction on social media, making posts or comments about or alluding to the victim, use of spyware or tracking apps or software, hacking or otherwise gaining access to victim’s accounts on any online platform. This also includes accessing internet-connected devices in victim’s homes, such as video doorbells, assistants like Alexa, Google Home or Siri, and home security systems.

Anyone who is or has been a victim of this behaviour is urged to report it. Officers will fully investigate all reports and victims will be signposted to support networks that can help them rebuild their lives.

Kent Police is committed to doing all that it can to bring offenders to justice and safeguard victims of stalking. Stalking Protection Orders are just one tool that officers use to provide protection to those who need it.

Since their introduction in January 2020, officers have been able to obtain 18 such orders, and recently attained an indefinite order for a stranger stalker who was targeting two female victims.

This order offers long lasting protection and places a requirement on the perpetrator to register with police.

Detective Chief Superintendent Andrew Pritchard of Kent Police’s Public Protection Unit said: `Stalking can have a devastating effect on victims’ lives and we remain focused and committed to helping people get justice and move forward.

‘Stalking can be incredibly frightening especially as it takes many forms and does not necessarily involve any physical contact.

‘Kent Police takes stalking extremely seriously and we would encourage anyone suffering this behaviour to report it to us. We work with a number of other organisations to offer support to victims so they can feel safe again.’

Stalking is a pattern of persistent and unwanted attention that makes you feel pestered, scared, anxious or harassed. Some examples of stalking are:

  • Regularly giving unwanted gifts
  • Making unwanted communication
  • Damaging property
  • Repeatedly following you or spying on you
  • Threats

Taken in isolation, some of the behaviours may seem like small acts, but together they make up a consistent pattern of behaviour that is frightening and upsetting.

If you have concerns about stalking, please contact Kent Police online at www.kent.police.uk/report or in an emergency always call 999.

You can also contact the Suzy Lamplugh Trust stalking helpline on 0808 802 0300 or seek advice at their website: https://www.suzylamplugh.org/am-i-being-stalked-tool

By Ed