Jump to content


Recommended Posts

The bill attracted cross party support today as it passed the second reading.

Association of Police and Crime Commissioners Victims Lead, Dame Vera Baird

Association of Police and Crime Commissioners Victims Lead, Dame Vera Baird


Police could gain new powers to tackle the "scourge of stalking" after a draft law cleared its first parliamentary hurdle.

MPs unanimously supported the second reading of the Stalking Protection Bill, which would enable police to issue stalking protection orders.

Labour MP Sarah Champion (Rotherham) said the orders, which give powers to ban strangers from contacting an individual or their families, could be the "difference between life and death".

Currently if an offender is a victim's partner, or former partner, police can use domestic violence protection orders to try to curb their behaviour.

The new orders would be applicable to all types of stalking, but would address a gap in the law surrounding offences where strangers are involved.

Tory MP Sarah Wollaston, who proposed the measures in the Government-backed Bill, said: "What these civil protection orders will do will allow us to put in place a bespoke regime of not only prohibitions, but requirements on perpetrators, setting out very clearly what they must not do.

"But also as has been recognised, there is a sense that some perpetrators are not well and so it will allow the court to set a requirement to attend for a mental health assessment."

Ms Champion, welcoming the Bill, said: "In too many cases there isn't enough evidence for police to make an arrest before it's too late.

"The stalking protection orders put forward in this Bill will be an important early intervention tool available to police officers whilst a criminal investigation is ongoing.

"An early intervention could literally be the difference life and death."

Tory MP Alex Chalk (Cheltenham) told MPs of several constituents who had experienced stalking and described it as "murder in slow motion".

He said: "This is a key piece of the jigsaw in terms of how we properly ought to approach this scourge of stalking.

"Stalking is a horrible, violating crime that rips relationships and shatters lives.

"Although inevitable it's celebrities whose cases hit the headlines, I do think it's important that we emphasise this is a phenomenon in no respect of fame or fortune - it's far more indiscriminate than that, anyone, literally anyone, can be a victim."

Home Office minister Victoria Atkins said the Bill would provide police with a "vital additional tool with which to protect victims of stalking and deter perpetrators at the earliest opportunity".

She said: "The order will put the onus on the police not the victims to bring these orders."

The Bill also received support from Labour and will now progress to the committee stage, where it will receive line by line scrutiny.

Association of Police and Crime Commissioners Victims Lead Dame Vera Baird QC said she welcomes the bill as a “strong way of intervening early to control stalking.”

“The Stalking Protection Order will be available to police on the civil standard of proof but breach of it will be a criminal offence carrying a potential sentence of five years. This is a substantial deterrent. We congratulate Dr Wollaston MP on introducing the Bill, backed by the Home Office.”

But she added that there a “few ways in which the Bill could be even better.”

She said it makes no sense for cross-border applications to be made in the area where the stalker resides and the defence of “reasonable of excuse” must have tough requirements.

“It would not be a reasonable excuse that this was revenge for some allegedly just offence, that it was acts of admiration or any of the other justification someone obsessed and fixated is likely to put forward. We think magistrates will require tight guidance on this.

“We welcome that both negative and positive requirements can be put on the Stalking Protection Order. That means the individual can be excluded from entering a particular area, contacting someone et cetera.

“However, positive conditions on an Order are more difficult. There is a proposal that such a requirement might be for a stalker to go on a perpetrator course, yet of course this is dependent on availability.  Additionally, costs of any positive condition need to be funded through the court’s resources, they certainly could not fall upon the Police.” 

View On Police Oracle

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So it's a DVPN but for stalking. Why not. Something extra for us to throw into the mix. 

Of course it's another thing for us to be criticised for not doing if something wrong. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah appears to be the same thing as a DVPN/DVPO. Definitely worthwhile having more things in the tool box to try and use. Although how long would this apply for? What would the maximum time be? There could be more emphasis on expanding the process to apply for civil orders in these circumstances. 

I agree though @SimonT I get the feeling that this will end up being another thing to blame the police for when things go wrong. Particularly so when it says it puts the onus on the police rather than the victim. 

The other problem is there is rarely any actual punishment for a breach. There would need to be robust sentencing guidelines from the outset for this to actually work. 

We also need to be careful about talking about murder and life and death. Yes this may help to a certain extent but we see this time and time again with DV too, if someone is willing to commit murder then I highly doubt the main thing they think about is the likely implications of a breach of bail conditions, DVPN, stalking order etc.

Thats not to say we should just give up however Politicians and the public need to understand this. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm all for it for sensible application to cases which pass a certain threshold.

However, this is dangerous territory if this becomes the new harrassment warning - harassment being one of the most overused words in today's policing society.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...