Sussex PCC to set up stalking perpetrator programme
Today (23 November) Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne, a stalking victim herself, has announced that she has secured £98,000 from the Government to set up a pioneering intervention programme, working with perpetrators of stalking.
The initiative, the first of its kind for Sussex, will aim to improve responses to stalking across the criminal justice system and the health sector, working with private mental healthcare providers to develop a bespoke intervention for stalking perpetrators.
*Stalking is a relentless crime driven by fixated, obsessive, unwanted and repeated behaviours that cause prolonged suffering for victims.*
On average, stalking campaigns last for up to two years and, because research shows that 94% of domestic homicides were preceded by stalking behaviour, it is vitally important to prevent these crimes from escalating.
Sussex Police and partners have led the way in responding to stalking with a 300% increase in victim referrals over the last five years and police officers already issuing 29 Stalking Protection Orders (SPOs) since they were first introduced in January, the highest in the country.
An SPO can also mandate that a perpetrator attends a behavioural-change programme, but this is not currently possible because there are no appropriate intervention programmes in place.
PCC Katy Bourne’s proposed solution will fill this gap in the criminal justice response.
**Stalkers display complex characteristics that are, arguably, unlike that of any other type of perpetrator. The fixated nature of a stalker demonstrates a deep-rooted, psychological obsession with their victim that we know a usual criminal justice sanction won’t always deter or stop.**
Previous research has found that over half of stalking perpetrators go on to re-offend, repeatedly breaching court orders put in place to protect their victims.
“I’m pleased that we have been successful in our bid for funding so that we can begin to identify and properly address the root causes of stalking behaviours and fill the current gaps in our response to these heinous crimes.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel said; “Stalking is a distressing crime and we’re determined to stamp it out.”
“In January, I introduced *Stalking Protection Orders* which protect victims and address the perpetrator’s behaviour at the earliest opportunity, and I’m encouraged to see Sussex Police using these powers.’’
“This additional funding will enable Sussex Police to continue leading the way in tackling stalking, and partners to go even further in fighting this disturbing crime.”
Over the last year, local Sussex stalking advocacy service, Veritas Justice, supported 1,085 victims. They have seen steady increases in referrals since they began supporting victims in 2016 and know first-hand the complex and challenging nature of these crimes.
Director Claudia Ortiz fully supports the introduction of perpetrator interventions saying: “This is very welcome news and a crucial part of the development of our response to stalking in Sussex. We hope that by addressing stalkers’ behaviour at the earliest possible opportunity it will mean that current victims of stalking will be safer and will also prevent future victims from being targeted in the first place.
“Most victims of stalking tell us that they just want the stalking to stop, so it is of paramount importance that we adopt a multiagency approach and improve our understanding of the complex psychological issues that drive and sustain stalking behaviour to provide interventions beyond the criminal justice outcomes to reduce reoffending and revictimisation.”
The proposed intervention programme will aim to gain a better understanding of mental health problems associated with stalking. The countywide pilot intends to assess risk, gain understanding of psychological drivers, with an aim of finding a way to stop stalking behaviours altogether.”
BBC NEWS~10 April 2019.
Sussex Police ordered to improve stalking probes.
Stalking and harassment offences are NOT being properly investigated by Sussex Police, a report has found.
The official report was commissioned following the murder of 19-year-old Shana Grice by her ex-boyfriend.
She had reported Michael Lane to officers five times in six months but was fined for wasting police time. He was jailed for 25 years for her murder.
The report said more improvements were needed to support victims. Sussex Police accepted more needed to be done.
Three police officers are facing disciplinary action over the case.
Stalking and harassment is more common in Sussex than the national average, the report said. About 9% of crime in the county is harassment and 2% is stalking, compared with 2% and 0.1% nationally.
**Online stalking concerns**
The report, by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS), said a training programme introduced after Miss Grice’s murder to help staff better understand and identify stalking was “never fully completed” and most investigating officers had not received any training.
Not enough victims were being referred to specialised support services, the report said, adding that there were also concerns over cases where victims were targeted online.
It added that nationally, police forces were not using powers under stalking laws to search perpetrators’ homes so stalking investigations were “not as thorough as they could be”.
Victims of harassment were not being properly protected because injunctions were not being used, it added.
The report also called on the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) to ensure forces around the country make improvements, and called for a single definition for stalking to be adopted by police forces and government departments.
Sussex’s Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne, who commissioned the report, said in 2018 she had been a victim of stalking.
She hoped it would improve the force’s response “dramatically” and scrutinise how other bodies were handling stalking.
The force has been given three months to make improvements.
Assistant Chief Constable Nick May said: “The report acknowledges that we have significantly improved our understanding of what stalking and harassment is and what our response should be’’.
“It also sets out where there is even more work to do, and we accept this.”
He added: “The inspection by HMICFRS has provided a benchmark of progress made to date, but Sussex Police are the second-highest recorder of stalking offences after the [Metropolitan Police]… There are numerous reasons why victims do not always wish to support a criminal conviction.”
2 MEMBERS OF HMICFRS PANEL ARE Aware Of MY OWN STALKING & HARASSMENT / HATE CRIME CASE WHICH HAS BEEN GOING ON SINCE OCT. 2016.
CHIEF CONSTABLE SHAUN SAWYER OF DEVEN & CORNWALL POLICE
& DETECTIVE SUPERINTENDENT BRIAN QUINN…A Scottish Man~
EX CHIEF SUPERINTENDENT FOR SUSSEX POLICE RUSSELL WHITFIELD, WHO NOW RUNS 2 SEPERATE PRIVATE INVESTIGATION FIRMS, ‘LIBERTON INVESTIGATIONS LTD.’ now based in Ashton~Under~Lyne & ‘SOTERIA RELATIONS LTD.’ based in Hailsham, IS ALSO Fully Aware Of MY CASE.
MR WHITFIELD HAS INFORMED ME VIA EMAIL SENT IN MAY 2020, THAT HE IS NOW ‘’SEMI RETIRED & LIVING IN NEW ZEALAND’’… see attached email below.
LETS HOPE HMICFRS ARE AS DEDICATED TO UPHOLDING THE LAW AS THEY ARE TO DICTATING mHOW IT SHOULD BE ADMINISTERED.
Stalking should be treated as ‘really serious crime’ says PCC
13 April 2018
“Stalking and harassment are such insidious crimes that take over and destroy lives. We know what can happen when victim’s aren’t taken seriously, so it’s vital that those affected feel confident in reporting knowing that the law is on their side.”
Katy Bourne said her experience with police over stalking “wasn’t really the best”
A police and crime commissioner has called on fellow PCCs to take the crime of stalking more seriously.
Sussex PCC Katy Bourne said she was left “frustrated” by the legal system after she was stalked for five years.
She urged PCCs to adopt measures such as those she had introduced in Sussex, including a specialist support service for victims of stalking,
“I want all PCCs to step up to the plate and take this on board as being a really serious crime,” she said.
“I have been a victim and I do know how it feels.”
**Fixated and obsessed**
The stalking of Ms Bourne, a Conservative, began after she was elected as PCC.
The man became “really fixated” and obsessed, but she ignored it, hoping “it would go away”, she said.
“He wasn’t just going to take me down professionally; he was going to take me down personally.
I reported it to police and I have to say my experience wasn’t really the best.”
Her complaint was handled by another force, which, she said, “took a while” to understand the situation.
“My great frustration was the Crown Prosecution Service said that despite nearly five years of evidence, there was no case to answer,” she said.
Ms Bourne then took out an injunction against her alleged stalker.
A CPS spokeswoman said: “We received a file from the police in March 2017 in relation to an allegation of harassment linked to online blogs.
“After careful consideration of all the evidence, including the nature of the blog posts and the actions of the suspect in deleting material from the internet following his arrest, we concluded the evidential test set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors was not met and therefore no charges were authorised.”
**Victims let down**
Three years ago Ms Bourne carried out a review and, finding no support for victims of stalking, founded with Sussex Police a new specialist support service.
She said officers and prosecutors CPS were now also being trained to understand the effects of stalking.
Previously officers had recorded individual instances, but not always seen them as part of a “bigger picture”, she said.
“It’s a pattern of behaviour that escalates over time. That’s what makes it so dangerous,” she said.
Since the review, she said. there had been an eight-fold increase in cases reported to Sussex Police, while the number solved had risen by two-thirds.
“If this is happening in Sussex, what worries me is that this crime is also happening elsewhere and other forces aren’t giving it the attention that it needs,” she said.
“Victims are out there being let down nationally.”
Police & Crime Commissioner For Sussex, Katy Bourne, tells interviewer…’I was called a paedophile and murderer’~ as she reveals stalking ordeal.
Story by Ginny Sanderson. 21st January 2020. Updated 21st January 2020.
The Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) says she was almost driven out of her job by a stalker.
Katy Bourne has spoken out about her experience – and her mission to get police forces and the justice system to take the offence more seriously.
“I felt very isolated,” she told this newspaper, “I didn’t want to show I was upset because I wanted to stay strong.
“For about three years, I ignored it. I’m in the public eye, not everybody is pleased to see you. Freedom of speech, everybody’s entitled to that.”
She initially met her stalker Matthew Taylor on the campaign trail to be PCC. They were at an early hustings, before the official candidates were announced, and Taylor was standing against her for the new role.
Then Taylor, who never actually ran to be PCC, started writing blog posts calling her a “prostitute”, “nasty Nazi party sympathiser” and accusing her of being a paedophile, child abuser and murderer.
He would also send mass emails to professional bodies and panels the Conservative politician sat on, and set up a fake email address pretending to be her to email MPs.
Mrs Bourne said, “He accused me of having an affair with people in my office, which was simply untrue and distressing.
“It was causing a lot of stress and embarrassment. It became quite obsessive. It was fixated, unwanted, repeated.”
One day the stalker showed up at an event Mrs Bourne was at, stood at the back of the room, and secretly filmed her speech. He then left and stood outside and filmed her through a window, posting the video on social media.
“That gave me the absolute chills,” she said, “It really upset me. I left that dinner late at night. He had filmed himself ranting and raving in an aggressive manner.
“Then several others decided I was going to be a number one target.”
People started showing up at her office. But it was the chilling moment an individual filmed her harness at an abseiling event and the stalker wrote “you should have slit her rope”, that she decided it had gone too far.
She was at the charity event in Newhaven when one individual started filming her. “The next day I saw the video, he had got access to my harness before I wore it. Someone wrote ‘you should have slit her rope’.
“It was that point I thought ‘this is really scary’. It had gone from the online world into the physical world.”
Four years into the ordeal, the Crown Prosecution Service rejected an application for criminal proceedings, saying there wasn’t enough evidence.
“I felt ‘what is the point?’” Mrs Bourne said, “I thought, I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing staying with this job.”
But, with some encouragement from her family, she decided to stick with her public role and speak out about what had happened to her.
Mrs Bourne eventually succeeded in getting a civil injunction against Taylor.
“It was such a relief,” she said, “just the fact that somebody had taken me seriously. The most important thing is that you just want it to stop and have the police take you seriously would be just an incredible relief for a victim.
“It’s an insidious crime it really is. And as a society we have got to do something about this because we are not going to get women in any walks of life.”
Taylor was later found to be in contempt of his injunction, and was handed a four month prison sentence, suspended for two years.
She says even now people have joked to her about her own experience with stalking. “I try not to be oversensitive about it. But that’s not appropriate.
“I saw someone wrote online ‘who would stalk her?’ If you want to encourage women into politics you need to make sure it’s safe. As a society we need to confront this issue.”
The experience has led Mrs Bourne to campaign for improvement of people’s attitudes to stalking, and crucially the way it is dealt with by police and the courts.
“What worries me with stalking is the fact that when it goes wrong it really goes wrong,” she said, “We have seen people being killed. We can’t afford to get this wrong.”
The case of Shana Grice saw the 19-year-old report her stalker to Sussex Police five times – but she herself was fined £90 for wasting police time.
She was brutally murdered by her stalker Michael Lane in August 2016. The 28-year-old was jailed for life for her murder.
Meanwhile, now-retired PC Trevor Godfrey was found to have committed misconduct by failing to properly investigate the case.
Mrs Bourne said, “Sussex Police are on a journey of improvement, they aren’t perfect yet. They are working hard to give the best service they can to victims of stalking and they are well ahead of police forces nationally.”
This week, Sussex Police has become one of the first forces in the country to introduce Stalking Protection Orders (SPOs)
They aim to protect victims of stalking by can prohibiting suspected stalkers from contacting a victim or going to certain locations.
They also have ‘positive’ requirements which could include the offender having a mental health assessment or attending a rehabilitation course.
Mrs Bourne said, “They stop the victim from going to court themselves and going through that trauma.
“It’s for the victim’s peace of mind. The police are saying ‘I hear you, I take you seriously and what’s happening to you isn’t normal behaviour’
“It gives them that peace of mind they desperately need. They need to know they aren’t going mad and what’s happening to them isn’t normal.”
The average stalking victim has suffered six years of the behaviour before they contact police, and experienced around 100 incidents.
By that point, the victims are ‘beside themselves’ says Mrs Bourne, living with the anxiety for that amount of time.
“It’s not good for you. We know the chemicals it releases in the body are disruptive. It will affect your mental health.”
She says police are also set to trial improved risk assessments for suspected perpetrators in March.
• If you are being stalked or harassed it is important that you report it. Stalkers are fixated and obsessive offenders who will not stop.
• You can report stalking or harassment online or by calling 101 or in person at your local police station.
• But always call 999 if you are in danger. Our officers and staff will undertake a risk assessment and focus on keeping you safe.
• If you would like further information about stalking or harassment, there are several organisations that specialise in providing advice and support to victims.
• Veritas is a local organisation which provides advocacy and support for victims of stalking.
I WOULD LIKE TO ASK PCC KATY BOURNE ONE QUESTION…
WHY DID SUSSEX POLICE FAIL TO INTERVIEW THE LADY WHO NOT ONLY ‘WITNESSED’ MY STALKERS FROM CORNWALL TRYING TO BREAK INTO MY MOBILITY CAR WHILST IT WAS PARKED OVERNIGHT OUTSIDE MY SISTERS HOUSE IN JANUARY 2019, BUT ‘FILMED’ THEM WHIST THEY WERE DOING IT?
& WHY DID SUSSEX POLICE ALSO FAIL TO EVEN ‘RECORD’ THAT I HAD REPORTED IT TO THEM IN PERSON AT THE POLICE STATION ? ~ my police files have Finally been sent to me & there is no mention of me reporting it at all.… there is also no mention at all of me reporting that 6 of my sisters neighbours witnessed me being threatened outside her house a couple of days after the attempted break in to my car !
It seems the police are only interested in shafting me to shut me up so my ex neighbours/stalkers stay out of jail . Melissa’s ‘police family friends’ are far too influential within Devon & Cornwall police & the corruption is very obviously akin to COVID ~ A Bloody Pandemic!