Investment in stalking unit helps keep vulnerable people safe
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In January 2024 Cheshire Constabulary’s Harm Reduction Unit (HRU) successfully secured a five-year stalking protection order (SPO) with the stipulation that the perpetrator has to wear a GPS tag – the first of its kind in the county. The tag alerts the police if the offender goes within a certain distance of the victim.
In April 2023, the HRU benefited from over £1 million in extra funding secured by Police and Crime Commissioner John Dwyer, which was used to invest in the GPS tags and provide an enhanced service to those experiencing stalking.
Police and Crime Commissioner, John Dwyer said:
“I want to congratulate the officers on their fantastic work in securing this SPO. The added value of having the GPS tags is that these will provide the victim with the reassurance that measures are in place to safeguard them against the perpetrator.
“This is the first SPO in the county that has the GPS tag stipulations, but it won’t be the last. I look forward to seeing the technology used more and more to tackle this type of offending.
“In the Police and Crime Plan I have made delivering justice for victims and modernising the police service key priorities. The use of GPS tags in this way demonstrates how the Constabulary is using technology to tackle crime and safeguard our communities.”
PC Samantha Sonner, Cheshire Constabulary’s Harm Reduction Unit, said:
“Working as part of the Harm Reduction Unit, I have seen first-hand the difference that Stalking Protection Orders have made on victims’ lives, by making them feel safer and making perpetrators accountable for any further offending behaviours.
“Having the opportunity to utilise GPS tags for the purpose of SPOs is real progress. In this case I know the GPS tag stipulated as a condition has made a huge difference to the victim who is relieved, and now feels safe at home and in the community for the first time since this ordeal started.”
Cheshire Constabulary deals with 3,000 stalking offences per year, and the HRU is a collaboration between police, health, probation and victim advocacy partners. It is responsible for protecting victims of stalking, bringing offenders to justice.
It’s vitally important to report every incident of stalking, no matter how small, to enable the police to build intelligence. You can report non-emergency incidents via 101 or online at www.cheshire.police.uk/ro/report. If you are in immediate danger, always call 999.