While some of the increase in domestic incidents has been attributed to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, there have also been changes to the way these offences were recorded. Domestic-related harassment offences are now recorded as stalking offences. Dorset Police recorded 565 stalking offences between April and September 2020. In the previous year during the same time period 184 such offences were reported. However, figures for harassment dropped comparing the same time periods from 1155 in 2019 to 961 in 2020.
Detective Superintendent Jim Beashel, of Dorset Police, said, “The impact this type of crime can have on a victim can be devastating and long-lasting.
“We treat all reports of stalking seriously and it is a priority for the force to ensure perpetrators are brought to justice.
“Dorset Police works closely with partners and other agencies to encourage reporting and to support victims. The Dorset Stalking Clinic sees core agencies working together with the aim of sharing detailed information to ensure the best possible practice is followed in relation to safeguarding and crime prevention.
“We are continuing to raise awareness of stalking offences with our staff and officers to ensure that victims are listened to, supported, and investigations are conducted as effectively as possible. All new recruits are trained in dealing with stalking and harassment offences.
“I would encourage anyone who has been a victim of stalking to have the confidence to come forward and contact Dorset Police. We are here to help and have officers trained to support you.
“If you’re experiencing persistent and unwanted attention, and the behaviour is making you feel fearful, harassed or anxious, then please contact Dorset Police online at www.dorset.police.uk or by calling 101. Always dial 999 in an emergency.”
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