In response to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services progress report on the police response to domestic abuse, Chief Executive of Suzy Lamplugh Trust, Rachel Griffin said: 

“We welcome the inclusion of stalking and harassment in Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services report on domestic abuse released today. Last year, over 50% of victims who contacted the National Stalking Helpline were being stalked by an ex-intimate partner. It is vital that the relationship between stalking and domestic abuse is recognised, and that criminal justice professionals are able to respond to people and crimes in a holistic manner.  

"Reflecting on the first thematic inspection into harassment and stalking, the report highlights ongoing concerns around the use of Police Information Notices (PINs) and their place in the management of stalking perpetrators.  We are working with a number of forces who have stopped using this tool and await the guidance from the NPCC lead on stalking and harassment on the future use of PINs in policing. 

"We are concerned to see a continuing haphazard approach to risk assessment of stalking victims.  Today’s report confirms our experience from supporting victims on the National Stalking Helpline, that victims who have been in a relationship with their stalker are more likely to be assessed for risk than those who have notWhile it is heartening to hear that the risks associated with stalking are being acknowledged in cases of domestic abuse, it is concerning that criminal justice professionals continue to focus on the perpetrator’s relationship with their victim as the primary indicator of risk, to the exclusion of other significant risk indicators, in particular the motivation and intention of the perpetrator 

"The significant discrepancies across the country in the way that stalking is assessed pose a threat to victims’ wellbeing. Risk-assessments are essential and should be carried out routinely, regardless of the prior relationship between the stalker and their victim.  We strongly recommend the use of a stalking-specific risk assessment tool in any situation where stalking is suspected.  These tools can uncover stalking behaviours associated with abuse that the victim may not recognise, and must be used to ensure that safety planning around the victim is robust. 

"We call for every police force to commit to using specialist stalking risk-assessments for all stalking victims, regardless of their relationship with the stalker. Frontline staff must receive robust risk-assessment training, so that they can use resources available to them to evaluate the threats to victims in their care. It is imperative that criminal justice professionals use of risk-assessment tools is underpinned by a thorough understanding of stalking as a crime and an appreciation of the risks associated with it.”