Published on 6th March 2020

Perpetrators of serious crimes such as stalking, domestic abuse and exploitation will soon be offered intervention to address their behaviour under a new programme funded by Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner.

Using the learning obtained from the county’s Integrated Anti-Stalking Unit (IASU), Cheshire Constabulary will develop a model where police officers, victim advocates and healthcare professionals work with both victims and offenders of violent crimes.

This model will enable police to understand individual offenders’ motivations and circumstances, to better manage the risks they pose and, in some cases, stop the behaviour for good.

Over the last two years, the IASU - a partnership between Cheshire Police and North West Borough Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust - has used a range of interventions to manage the risks posed by perpetrators, whilst protecting victims of stalking.

To date, it has received more than 500 referrals from across Warrington and Halton, providing victims with one-to-one support and working with perpetrators to reduce the risk of further harm to the victim and the wider community.

The £200K funding from PCC David Keane will allow the model to be further enhanced and applied to other high risk violent crimes across Cheshire.

He said: “Whilst it’s vitally important that we give victims the right support to help them recover from their ordeal, it’s also imperative that we try to address what motivates the offender, to reduce reoffending and stop more innocent people becoming victim to their crimes.

“Research shows that 94% of domestic homicides were preceded by stalking and this programme is about stopping the behaviour before it becomes more serious and potentially fatal.

“Whilst the criminal justice system can offer substantial prison sentences for perpetrators of violent crime, it does very little to address the underlying motivations which fuel the behaviour.

“This revolutionary model brings police officers and partners from the health service together to find the most suitable resolution for both the perpetrator and the victim.

“We know that it works with just three of the 56 stalking perpetrators the Integrated Anti-Stalking Unit worked with over the last two years going on to reoffend. The funding I have allocated will allow the successful model to be applied to other serious crimes in Cheshire.”

Detective superintendent Peter Shaw, from Cheshire Police’s public protection directorate, added: “Cheshire Constabulary is leading the way nationally in dealing with stalking offences and the Integrated Anti-Stalking Unit is the envy of many other forces.

“Officers and staff from the Integrated Anti-Stalking Unit have done a great deal of work to tackle offending behaviour and reduce the risk to victims.

“This investment is a major step forward in enabling the police to make sure that we are able to safeguard people at risk of serious harm.”