Only 1.7% of stalking cases result in a conviction, yet the National Stalking Consortium finds vast gaps in data that could improve criminal justice accountability. 

National Stalking Consortium study for National Stalking Awareness Week 2024 examines police and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) transparency when handling stalking cases.  

London, UK – 22nd April 2024: Suzy Lamplugh Trust sent Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to all 43 police forces and to the CPS to better understand the challenges to achieving a stalking conviction. Data gathered from the results of these suggest that there are still systemic issues across agencies when dealing with stalking cases, and vast gaps in national data (1) about victims on their journey through the criminal justice system that are preventing understanding and reform.  

Stalking victims need all agencies to work together to ensure they have support from the first point of disclosure right through to conviction and beyond. In 2022 more than half of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) made a commitment to increase reports of stalking in their jurisdiction, yet 67% of the forces that responded to our 2024 FOI request and had also committed to increasing the number of reports actually recorded a decrease in the number of reports in their force between year ending March 2022 and year ending March 2023. Only 5 of those that made the commitment recorded an increase in the number of reported stalking cases. It is vital that stalking is given the prioritisation that it deserves and that PCCs increase reports of stalking in their jurisdictions.

Stalking Protection Orders can be a vital safeguarding tool for victims of stalking by putting in place prohibitions, as well as positive requirements on perpetrators, such as attending a mental health assessment or surrendering devices for evidence collection. We are shocked by extremely low numbers of applications, with 12 police forces who responded to our FOI request having applied for 10 or less SPOs (full and interim combined) in the year ending March 2023 (2).

One victim of stalking said:

“My advocate from the National Stalking Helpline told me about SPOs. She approached the police directly. It took about 9 months to put an Interim Stalking Protection Order in place from the date that it was requested by the advocate. The perpetrator has since breached it and a month later, there has been no response from the police. I had to send [the police officer] a copy of my SPO because he didn't actually have it, he didn't know. I don't have the energy to fight the police and the stalker at the same time”.


Dedicated specialist stalking police officers are vital for ensuring victims of stalking are supported by the police at every stage of the investigation, having the in-house expertise to handle the complexity of stalking cases. Yet only 7 police forces who responded to our FOI explicitly stated that they had at least 1 dedicated stalking officer. Twelve forces explicitly stated they had none. 

Vast gaps in the data hinder our ability to adequately scrutinise the criminal justice system response to stalking cases. Of the 27 police forces that answered our FOI request, only 11 were able to provide us with a detailed breakdown of the number of stalking cases subsequently charged as a different crime (such as harassment, malicious communications, etc.) in the year ending March 2023, despite a wealth of evidence across National Stalking Consortium Services that this is occurring. Eleven forces were unable to give us any data on this issue. The Crown Prosecution Service were also unable to provide us with this information stating that they did not collate pre charge information for comparison.

The current system is failing victims at every step of the process. These findings highlight the urgent need for transparency across criminal justice data systems to show why victims are falling through the gaps and convictions not being achieved, as well as improved understanding and awareness of stalking behaviours among criminal justice professionals. Agencies across the criminal justice system must join forces against stalking to ensure victims receive the support and outcome they deserve.   

Based on the findings of this report, the Suzy Lamplugh Trust is making a number of policy recommendations including:  

  • The Government to publish a national Tackling Stalking Plan, to compliment the Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy published in July 2021 and the Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan that was published in 2022, that sets out a whole-systems approach to tackling stalking across different agencies.
  • £243,810,000 million ring-fenced funding for specialist stalking support services to be able to meet the needs of victims and the increasing demands posed by referrals from the police, CPS and healthcare.
  • All relevant individuals that deal with stalking cases must undertake independent specialist stalking training, including those across the police, CPS, and health and social care. 
  • The creation of national data standards to ensure the consistency and comparability of data across all criminal justice agencies to enable agencies to track the journey of victims through the criminal justice system from report to conviction.   

Emma Lingley-Clark, Interim CEO of Suzy Lamplugh Trust, says: “At the Suzy Lamplugh Trust we strive to hold agencies supporting victims of stalking to account to ensure they are working effectively to achieve the best possible outcome for victims. But without published data that allows us to track their journey through the criminal justice system there is no accountability. This year marks another year of shockingly low conviction rates for stalking cases, and ongoing failures by the criminal justice system when keeping victims informed. Victims of stalking have waited far too long for change. We urgently need agencies to work together to tackle the long-term systemic issues that the National Stalking Consortium, as well as HMICFRS, have reported. Joining forces against stalking means collectively improving criminal justice outcomes and ensuring the victim remains informed and supported at every stage of the process”.  

Responding to the findings from Suzy Lamplugh Trust's FOI requests, Labour's Shadow Attorney General, Emily Thornberry, said: "It is bad enough when ministers tell us that this data is not held at national level, but it is downright unacceptable when we hear individual police forces saying that they do not track the outcomes of their stalking cases in this way. Across the board, it tells us that this crime is still not being treated with the seriousness it so obviously deserves, and the powers that are available to prevent and punish it are still not being properly used. No-one living in our society should have to experience fear every time they leave their home or log in to their computer, but those who do have a right to expect that the authorities are on their side, and doing everything possible to protect them."

National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for stalking and harassment, Deputy Chief Constable Paul Mills, said: “As the national Police Chief Council (NPCC) lead for stalking, I have seen directly, how insidious this crime is and its effect on the lives of victims and their family and friends, often leaving them feeling isolated and terrified. In cases where victims do not feel confident to come forward or the risk is not appropriately identified and safeguarding put in place, the potential for cases to escalate to an outcome of significant harm or homicide are well documented. We remain committed to working with all agencies including the CPS to understand attrition rates and ensure the very best outcomes for all victims of these life changing crimes."



(1) These include the number of applications for stalking protection orders compared to those actually granted or reasons for them being refused; how many recorded stalking crimes result in a charge for another crime altogether such as harassment or malicious communications; how many stalking cases are dropped altogether and the reasons why. 

(2) Eight applied for between 11 to 30 SPOs. Only 3 applied for more than 30 SPOs in the year ending March 2023.


Authors of the report, representatives of Suzy Lamplugh Trust, and supporters are available for media comment by arrangement, please contact:           
Suzy Lamplugh Trust: [email protected]     


Editor’s Notes       

What is stalking?   

Stalking is defined by Suzy Lamplugh Trust as a pattern of fixated and obsessive behaviour which is repeated, persistent, intrusive and causes fear of violence or engenders alarm and distress in the victim. The behaviours can be offline (such as visiting the victim’s home or place of work, following the victim or leaving gifts), or online (such as unwanted social media communication, calls, texts, emails, hacking and spyware).        

Read more at: Get Stalking advice and help | Suzy Lamplugh Trust

Suzy Lamplugh Trust:

Suzy Lamplugh Trust is a national personal safety charity set up after the disappearance of Suzy Lamplugh over 35 years ago. Our mission is to reduce the risk of violence, aggression and abuse through campaigning, education, and support. The Trust campaigns for better protections for victims of violence, aggression and stalking in policy and law. Suzy Lamplugh Trust runs the National Stalking Helpline and Advocacy Service, the only stalking helpline service for all victims across the UK, set up in 2010. The Helpline and Advocacy Service have supported over 75,000 victims of stalking to date.