In the second of a two-part article for Police Professional George Thomas and Cecily White examine procedures and safeguards that may assist in establishing an appropriate standard for the investigation of all stalking allegations following a review of the existing criminal and civil law relating to stalking.
From Sunday 25 November 2012, two new offences have come into existence in England and Wales relating to stalking. There is also a new power of entry and search for the summary stalking offence.
The offences are introduced into the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 by s.111 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.
Section 2A of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 (‘the Act’) creates the offence of Stalking (a summary only offence), while s.4A creates the offence of “Stalking involving fear of violence or serious alarm or distress”, triable either way. The new offences do not criminalise behaviour that was previously lawful, but are targeted at the particular type of harassment that also constitutes stalking.