Bedfordshire Police is supporting National Stalking Awareness Week Image: By taa22 AdobeStock_146296042

National Stalking Awareness Week

Bedfordshire Police is supporting National Stalking Awareness Week to highlight the devastating impact that stalking can have on victims, their families and communities.

College of Policing statistics show that, on average, victims will suffer 100 incidents of stalking before they choose to report it to the police.

Detective Chief Inspector Jackie Dadd said:

“Stalking often consists of behaviours that on the face of it seem very ordinary, but the repeated and fixated nature means it becomes menacing, causing victims to feel unsafe, isolated and terrified, even in their own homes.

“Stalking Awareness Week gives us a great platform to discuss the subject and remind the public that we are here to support victims and investigate.”

The signs of stalking

To help spot the signs of stalking, and highlight the associated behaviours, the College of Policing has shared the mnemonic FOUR, which stands for:

  • Fixated
  • Obsessive
  • Unwanted
  • Repeated

DCI Dadd added:

“Typically, when people think of stalking, they perhaps picture a person being followed by a stranger, but there are many other forms this disturbing behaviour can take.

“For example, harassing a person through phone calls, letters, online messages or unwanted gifts. Gestures that seem innocent may lead on to something more concerning and, if you have worries, it’s important to report them.

“Stalking behaviour is most often about the coercion and control by one person of another, and spotting the signs early can prevent escalation, stopping even more serious offences occurring. Stalking can be linked to some of the most serious crimes the police can deal with, including murder, sexual offences and domestic abuse.

“I would urge anyone with concerns to contact the police, even if you’re unsure that a crime has been committed.”

999 Silent Solution System

For information and advice about stalking, visit Bedfordshire Police’s stalking and harassment information pages.

You can also call the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300, or speak with Paladin, the National Stalking Advocacy on 0203 866 4107.

To report stalking, call police on 101. In the case of an emergency, always dial 999. You can also visit the force’s online reporting centre.

In support of this national week of action, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has also launched a campaign to raise awareness of silent 999 call systems.

The Silent Solution system enables a 999 mobile caller who is too scared to speak, or make a noise, to press 55 when prompted which will inform police they are in a genuine emergency.