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Visitors to Bluewater can get advice from officers as part of a stalking awareness campaign.

The national week-long event, organised by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust and supported by Kent Police, started on Monday 22 April 2024.

On Saturday 27 April, specialist officers accompanied by representatives from the charity, Victim Support, will be on hand at the shopping centre.

The team will be based at the Bluewater Engagement Centre in the Upper Plaza during the day, and will be available to talk to any members of the public who have concerns around stalking. They can also offer safeguarding advice and discreetly talk to anyone who needs to raise issues.

Information will also be available to help people learn more about the offence, the signs to look out for and how best to report concerns. Personal safety packs will also be available for visitors to take home. One of the aims of the awareness week is to widen the understanding of what actions amount to stalking and the impact these can have on victims. This will increase reports to the police, assist officers and partners to safeguard victims, and allow investigators along with the courts to hold offenders to account.

Kent Police has a range of options for tackling stalking offences and in the last financial year secured 1,006 charges, an increase of 2.1% on the previous year (985). The force is also recognised nationally as being a leader in the use of Stalking Protection Orders. Officers have obtained 149 orders since they were introduced in January 2020, imposing restrictions on offenders that are intended to prevent victims being further targeted.

The Engagement Centre can be visited between 10am and 5.30pm on Saturday 27 April.

By Ed

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