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Over 300 alleged NI stalkers arrested in two years

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As part of National Stalking Awareness Week, which begins today, (Monday 22 April) the Police Service of Northern Ireland has published updated arrest and Stalking Protection Order figures to showcase the successes over the last two years and encourage more victims to come forward.

New legislation was introduced to Northern Ireland in April 2022 which criminalised stalking for the first time. Since then, up until the 31st March 2024, the Police Service of Northern Ireland has arrested 312 alleged stalkers and charged 150. Since, October 2023, officers have also made the first successful application for a Stalking Protection Order to safeguard victims and put prohibitions on alleged perpetrator’s behaviours.

Detective Superintendent Lindsay Fisher from the Service’s Public Protection Branch said: “We are asking the public to not ignore the red flags. If someone’s behaviour towards you is fixated, obsessive, unwanted and repeated, this is stalking.

“I think many people when they hear the word ‘stalking’ will think of someone lurking in the shadows. Stalking can actually take many forms and can be online as well as in person and could be someone known to you or a complete stranger.

“It is an insidious crime that takes over and destroys lives. Statistics show that people will suffer up to 100 incidents before reporting to Police. It often results in fear, trauma and a reduction in the victim’s quality of life, in some tragic cases it has resulted in murder.

“Stalking is a crime, which will not be tolerated or accepted within our communities. Thousands of our officers and staff have now been trained to recognise and respond to these crimes and we will continue to use every tool at our disposal to bring offenders to justice.

“We are making weekly arrests and the Stalking Protection Orders are allowing our officers to take swift and decisive action, putting restrictions in place and enforcing breaches, treating them as criminal offences.”

The Police Service of Northern Ireland have outlined stalking and harassment behaviours to look out for on their website here.

Red flags of a stalker may include:

• Regularly following someone and tracking their movements
• Repeatedly going uninvited to their home or workplace
• Checking someone’s internet use, email or other communications
• Hanging around somewhere they know the person often visits
•Interfering with their property
•Watching or spying on someone
•Identity theft (buying things in someone’s name)

If you are experiencing any of the above or worried about a loved one who may be being stalking – report to the Police via 101 or call 999 in an emergency.

There is also other help and support available to you:

National Stalking Helpline

Practical advice and information to anyone who is currently or previously has been affected by harassment or stalking.

Phone: 0808 8020300

District breakdown of arrests:

Belfast – 69
Newry Mourne & Down – 34
Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon – 38
Antrim & Newtownabbey – 30
Derry City & Strabane – 32
Causeway Coast & Glens – 14
Mid Ulster – 19
Lisburn & Castlereagh – 18
Ards & North Down – 17
Fermanagh & Omagh – 22
Mid & East Antrim – 19

The Stalking Protection Orders are allowing our officers to take swift and decisive action, putting restrictions in place and enforcing breaches, treating them as criminal offences

Detective Superintendent Lindsay Fisher , Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Public Protection Branch



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