First interim Stalking Protection Order granted in Staffordshire
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The first Interim Stalking Protection Order, designed to protect any person of any age experiencing stalking, has been granted in Staffordshire.
A 36-year-old man, from Lichfield, appeared at Cannock Magistrates’ Court last month when the order was granted.
The Interim Order will last until the substantive applications have been determined. It is intended to protect the victim from further acts of stalking.
The order imposes conditions on prohibiting contact with a woman he repeatedly sent unwanted text messages to, contacted her on social media and threatened with violence. He also fitted a tracking device to her car and used an app on his phone to monitor her movements.
A criminal investigation is ongoing into this case. The man has not been charged with any criminal offence at this stage.
The Stalking Protection Act 2019, introduced nationally on 20 January, introduced a new civil Stalking Protection Order which can be applied for by the police. They allow early police intervention, pre-conviction to address stalking behaviours before they escalate in severity, and to protect victims from more serious harm. Orders enforce conditions on those suspected of stalking prior o charge or trial.
The orders are designed to run alongside criminal prosecutions and will provide extra protection for victims where evidence may be in the process of being obtained.
A breach of an order is a criminal offence and can be punishable with imprisonment of up to 12 month, a fine or both.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Cooke, the force’s lead for stalking and harassment, said: “The orders will improve the safety of stalking victims by giving the police the authority to address the danger that perpetrators pose while they gather more evidence.
“They allow the police to apply to restrict perpetrator actions, for example, stopping them from contacting the victim. Importantly there will be criminal consequences when these orders are breached.
“If you’re experiencing stalking behaviours please seek help now. You can private message us on Facebook or Twitter, call 101 or report via our website. You should always call 999 in an emergency.”