Updated: Saturday, 22nd September 2018 @ 5:47am

North West's first anti-stalking unit to open after police and charity agree on 'ground-breaking' project

North West's first anti-stalking unit to open after police and charity agree on 'ground-breaking' project

| By Yemaya Marsden

Cheshire Police has signed a collaboration agreement to deliver a ground-breaking programme in which the region's first anti-stalking unit will open.

The county’s Police and Crime commissioner, David Keane, has joined forces with the Metropolitan Police, Hampshire Police and anti-stalking charity, Suzy Lamplugh Trust (SLT), to carry out innovative work to support victims of stalking.

This agreement follows a successful joint funding bid by the three forces and SLT to the Police Transformation Fund to deliver a two-year programme between now and 2020.

In Cheshire, the funding will be used to establish the first anti-stalking unit in the North West offering victims one-to-one support.

The unit will also work with the perpetrator to manage the risk of further harm to the victim and the wider community.

An experienced team of police officers, mental health professionals, outreach workers and victim advocates will assess each stalking allegation on a case-by-case basis before providing advice on whether psychological interventions, social support and legal sanctions are needed.

Mr Keane said: “Stalking is a complex crime which needs to be dealt with in the correct way to protect victims and manage the risks of perpetrators.

“Working with our colleagues in the Metropolitan and Hampshire Police and the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, this funding will allow us to carry out ground-breaking work to explore a range of interventions to tackle stalking at its root-cause and reduce repeat offending.”

The unit is operating from a base in Warrington and will initially focus on those affected by stalking in the Warrington and Halton areas before extending to the whole of Cheshire.

The three forces will then compare and evaluate their work to enable recommendations to be made for how intervention programmes to tackle stalking could be introduced to other force areas.

Rachel Griffin, chief executive of Suzy Lamplugh Trust, said: “We’re delighted to be working with partners in Cheshire on this innovative project to support victims of stalking and develop intervention programmes for perpetrators.

“Stalking is a crime of obsession which can have devastating and grave consequences for victims. This project aims to break the cycle of obsession fixation and harm.”