More than one stalking and harassment case was reported every other day in West Lindsey last year

There was more than one stalking and harassment case reported every other day in West Lindsey last year, figures reveal.

Office for National Statistics data shows that in West Lindsey, 214 cases of stalking, harassment or malicious communications were reported between October 2017 and September 2018.

Of the three crimes included in the figures stalking is the most serious, and can include following someone, repeatedly going uninvited to their home and monitoring their use of phones and computers.

Over the last five years, the number of recorded stalking and harassment cases has increased five-fold in West Lindsey.

Sarah Norburn, domestic abuse coordinator for Lincolnshire Police, said: “National changes have been made to the way that the police record stalking and harassment crimes, forces are now becoming more effective at detecting and recording crimes of stalking and harassment.

“Stalking can be described as a ‘A pattern of unwanted, fixated and obsessive behaviour which is intrusive.

“It can include harassment that amounts to stalking, or stalking that causes fear of violence or serious alarm or distress.’

“Examples of stalking or harassment may include frequent, unwanted contact i.e. texts, calls, social media, appearing at your home/work.

“It may also include following or watching the victim, sending letters or unwanted gifts, damage, burglary, threats to harm the victim and/or others associated with them, harassment of others associated with the victim and assault.

“If you think you are a victim of stalking or harassment, please call 101. Or see the force’s website, www.lincs.police.uk/reporting-advice/stalking-and-harassment, for more information.

“Alternatively there are organisations that can help you, such as the National Stalking Helpline, is available on 0808 802 0300.”

The Home Office says police recording has improved and victims are feeling more empowered to come forward.

However, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services, the police watchdog, recently published a report stating that stalking and harassment are not being investigated by police consistently or effectively.

It says there is no single definition of the crime, which means “police forces are not consistently identifying stalking and are not protecting victims as a result”.

Lincolnshire Police brought charges in 14 per cent of the stalking and harassment cases they investigated.

Police say a silent emergency call on its own will not bring assistance, however a victim can alert the call handler by coughing, tapping keys or pressing 55.