Man served with Kent’s first full Stalking Protection Order
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Kent Police has obtained its first full Stalking Protection Order (SPO) against a man from Rochester.
The 54-year-old appeared at Maidstone Magistrates’ Court on Monday 25 February 2020.
The Order was granted for a duration of five years and will run alongside an ongoing criminal investigation after he was reported for stalking and harassing a woman in January 2020.
The man attended court and did not contest the application for the Order that prohibits him from contacting the woman, engaging in any surveillance of her or attending her address.
Under new legislation
Stalking Protection Orders came into force on 20 January 2020, under the Stalking and Protection Act 2019. They are designed to better safeguard victims and strengthen prosecutions.
Kent Police’s Detective Chief Inspector Sam Mercer said: ‘We are pleased to have secured our first full Stalking Protection Order, which is an extremely valuable tool and will help us further protect victims whilst our officers carry out full and thorough investigations.
‘Last year we arrested more than 370 people in relation to stalking offences. The order is certainly not an alternative to prosecution, however it is something that can be applied for to protect those most vulnerable.
‘Anyone who breaches the order may be fined or sentenced to a maximum of five years per offence, which we hope acts as a strong deterrent.
‘Stalking behaviour might appear innocent at first, but if it keeps happening, it could mean something more sinister. Whilst it may not progress into any physical act of violence, it can have long term effects on victims and is something we take very seriously.
‘We appreciate that sometimes victims want intervention rather than prosecution, particularly in domestic abuse cases, however regardless of the crime outcome, victims in Kent will always be safeguarded where appropriate and directed to the relevant support services for advice and further help.
‘At Kent Police we remain focused and committed to bringing offenders to justice.’
Advice for victims
Anyone who feels they are a victim of stalking or are being harassed should report this behaviour to Kent Police by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency.
Incidents can also be reported online at https://www.kent.police.uk/
Always keep a record of what happened:
- where, when and how you were followed or contacted
- make a note of anything you were sent
- keep any social media or text messages
- record the details of anyone who may have witnessed the stalking
Anyone concerned about stalking can also contact the Suzy Lamplugh Trust stalking helpline or find further information on their website.
The National Stalking Helpline, offering help, advice and support, can also be reached on 0808 802 0300.