Am I being stalked? How to spot a stalker's behaviour using Lincolnshire Police's advice during National Stalking Prevention Week
Police are raising awareness of stalking and highlighting how people can get help to prevent the sinister crime.
During National Stalking Prevention Week, which begins today (April 19), Lincolnshire Police will be taking to social media to share information on the characteristics of stalking, and how they, and other organisations, can help.
The Suzy Lamplugh Trust charity has also teamed up with police officers to help with 'unmasking stalking'.
People are being asked to look out for 'FOUR' - fixated, obsessive, unwanted and repeated behaviour.
Detective superintendent Martyn Parker, head of the Protecting Vulnerable Persons Unit, said: “Stalking is defined by fixation and obsession.
"A victim is likely to feel vulnerable and isolated, feelings which will, no doubt, have been compounded by the restrictions faced over the last year.
"It is vital that stalking is a priority. It is vital that victims seek help."
The force will also raise awareness of Stalking Protection Orders (SPOs), which were introduced to protect victims under the Stalking and Protection Act 2019, with the orders made possible from January 2020. There are currently eight SPOs live in Lincolnshire.
Police are able to immediately arrest anyone breaching an SPO and this could result in up to five years imprisonment.
Detective superintendent Parker said: “SPOs are a vital safeguarding tool for police. SPOs offer an effective means of managing a suspect through use of prohibitions and requirements.
“SPOs allow an opportunity for early intervention in a stalking case, before the criminal threshold is met, and can also be used at any point during the course of an investigation up to the point of conviction.
"Our officers will consider applying for an SPO at the start of each stalking investigation, be it a case against a former partner, family member or stranger.
"A person who breaches an SPO without reasonable excuse commits a criminal offence and we are committed to taking proactive and urgent action where this is the case.”
If you are the victim of stalking, make a report by calling 101 or, if it is an emergency, call 999.
Support and information is also available by calling the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300 or from the Suzie Lamplugh Trust.