Northumbria Police has been praised for the way it has tackled stalking in the region.
The praise- which comes during National Stalking Awareness Week- is from a report by national personal safety charity the ‘Suzy Lamplugh Trust’ called ‘Out of Sight, Out of Mind’ which looks at the national picture of how stalking cases are dealt with.
In that report, Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird has been praised as an excellent example of good practice, having specifically commissioned services to address the problem of stalking.
The Commissioner is one of only nine PCCs to have done so throughout England and Wales.
Last year Northumbria Domestic Abuse Service (NDAS) received funding to have a specialist stalking worker and this year eleven organisations throughout Northumbria, who offer help and support to victims of stalking, will also receive funding.
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird, said: “Raising awareness of stalking is incredibly important - as is the help we offer to victims. “Stalking and harassment can affect anyone and in many ways.
“It can be people we know or people we don’t and it can take place on our way to work or even in the comfort of our own home with calls or messages on social media.
“Whatever form stalking and harassment takes, I want everyone to understand that here is help out there for those who are suffering - no matter who you are and irrespective of your sex, age or background - absolutely nobody should be suffering in silence.
“This year stalking was a key theme in our grants programme and although no stand-alone services applied, we made it a requirement that all domestic violence related support services must support victims of stalking and harassment if they come forward.
“The help is there and I urge anyone with any concerns to seek it - they will be listened to and helped to safety.”
The report by also highlights that nationally only 26.6 per cent of stalking has been reported to the police - raising concerns that it is an under-reported and under-recorded crime.
As a result The National Stalking Consortium is calling for action from all agencies to demonstrate a commitment to improving the recognition, reporting and prosecution of stalking - a commitment shared by Northumbria Police.
Earlier this year, Northumbria Police conducted its own review into how effectively the force deals with the handling of stalking and harassment.
As a result of this, a series of improvements are being made to the recording and handling of cases.
There is also new programme of training being introduced for frontline officers.