Aurora’s Stalking Service Manager, Lucy Kay, caught up with Detective Inspector James Stewart to talk about the work that Hampshire Constabulary undertake around stalking and whether this has been changing in the lock-down.
What is Hampshire’s Multi-Agency Stalking Intervention Project (MASIP)?
Since 2012, Hampshire has led the way nationally on multi-agency stalking work, and I’m incredibly proud of our accomplishments. The multi-agency approach means that we have a range of professionals that come together from different backgrounds to talk about and respond to stalking cases across Hampshire. It means that we are able to bring our different perspectives together to help tackle the problem.
Over the last few years we have expanded further, with the support of multiple agencies and the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, alongside Cheshire and London.
MASIP has enabled the Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust to develop a stalking specialist mental health team, improved the way we respond as the Police, and increased advocacy provision available to victims via Aurora New Dawn.
This has resulted in a better response to stalking across Hampshire.
How has police response improved due to the intervention project?
For the past two years an experienced Detective Constable has been appointed to the role of Force Stalking coordinator. It is their job to provide specialist, tactical advice on all stalking cases and offer support and advice to officers who are investigating stalking.
How does the MASIP team work?
We meet weekly to review stalking cases from Police, Probation, Mental Health services and Aurora. It is our job to make sure that we are working together to improve the lives of victims of stalking.
Every month we hold a stalking clinic, to assist with complex cases. All partners attend this meeting as well as a lawyer from the Crown Prosecution Service. The investigating officer presents the case so that we can offer the best possible support and advice on the opportunities to safeguard the victim and support the investigation.
All multi-agency partners work together to provide a best practice, collective response to stalking and the voices of all of the clinic partners are equal in this.
How have the challenges of Covid-19 and the lock-down changed this approach?
We continue to work together to share information, identify risk and look at opportunities to increase safeguarding and support. Whilst we are unable to meet in the same room, meetings are now held over the phone to ensure that there is no impact on our ability to identify and work together on high risk, complex and concerning cases of stalking.
Hampshire Police are undeterred in our commitment to deliver a service for this hugely impactful crime type.
What makes victim advocacy so important to the process?
Victim advocacy is so important given the significant impact crimes of stalking has on victims. To be able to ensure that victims receive such a professional, informed and compassionate level of advocacy support means that the overall response to this crime is truly holistic.
What would you say to victims of stalking who are thinking about reporting, but are worried about the situation and not being taken seriously?
Report to us. We are constantly working to make sure that we are providing the best possible service to victims of stalking and you will be taken seriously. We will listen to your concerns and make sure that you are offered the appropriate level of support.
If you are being stalked, or are concerned that you might be, please report via 999 or 101. If you are not sure and would like some support and advice, please contact Aurora New Dawn on 02394 216 816.
Detective Inspector James Stewart is the Tactical Force Lead for Stalking for Hampshire Constabulary. James and his colleagues from Hampshire Constabulary work alongside Aurora New Dawn, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust and the National Probation Service to deliver Hampshire’s Multi-Agency Stalking Intervention Project (MASIP).
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