South Yorkshire Police chief’s concern over ‘under reporting’ of stalking issues

Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire Alan Billings.
Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire Alan Billings.

Police chiefs are urging people to come forward and report stalking or harassment amid concerns the crime is being under reported by victims.

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioner, said there had been 20 reports of stalking recorded across South Yorkshire in the last 12 months.

He added this low figure suggested such incidents are not being reported enough and he urged people who experience stalking to always report it to police.

His comments were made as National Stalking Awareness Week drew to a close last week.

Dr Billings said: “Stalking is a very serious matter. It may seem harmless at first, but can result in bad outcomes - from depression and anxiety to violence.

“I would urge anyone who feels they are a victim of stalking to report it immediately to the police and receive advice on how to keep safe.

“Signs that you may be being stalked are: receiving unwanted gifts; finding someone is everywhere that you are; constant emails, telephone calls and text messaging along with declarations of love which then lead to threats of violence.”

He added: “Anyone who suspects they are being stalked should be extremely careful what they put on social media accounts as stalkers may use this information to find out about their interests, family, school or place of work and even their plans for the evening.

“There are many laws the police can use to end stalking and harassment. Victims should not have to live a life of fear because of the behaviour of others. Stalking can be life-changing and must be stopped before it becomes a very serious matter.”

If at any time you feel threatened or unsure, call the police on 101 or 999 if you are in immediate danger.