Keep a Stalking Diary, Victims Told by Police Manual ; CRIME: Increase in Personal Harrassment Cases Prompts Official Guidelines on How the Targets Can Collect Evidence and Trap Their Tormentors
Jason Bennetto Crime Correspondent, The Independent (London, England)
AN ANTI-STALKING manual by a leading police expert is to be published by the Home Office, offering members of the public advice on how to turn the tables on their tormentors.
The 16-page guide gives victims tips on how to collect evidence against their persecutors and pass it on to the police to help ensure a conviction. Among the suggestions are for victims to video or photograph the suspect, compile a diary about the campaign of intimidation, get witnesses, and keep any e-mails and all letters, which may contain forensic evidence such as DNA in saliva.
Stalking - An Investigator's Guide will also outline surveillance methods and prosecution techniques for police officers to use when investigating allegations of stalking. All police forces in England and Wales will be sent the Home Office-funded report by the summer. The public will have access to copies from places such as public libraries and police stations, and it is expected to eventually be published on the internet.
The initiative follows a spate of well-publicised cases of stalking, several of which have involved celebrities, including footballer David Beckham and radio presenter Zoe Ball.
Detective Inspector Hamish Brown, the author of the report and one of the country's leading experts on stalking, has interviewed victims and travelled to the United States as part of his research. He visited the Los Angeles police department's threat management team and the San Diego district attorney's stalker team to learn the methods used to catch the stalkers of celebrities including Steven Spielberg and Madonna.
Det Insp Brown, who is working at the National Operations Faculty, based at the national police training centre at Bramshill in Hampshire, said: "Stalking is a very serious crime and people should be encouraged to come forward and report it to the police."
Among the tips for the stalker victims includes:
If you are a woman living alone get a male friend to make a message on the telephone answer machine to give the impression that you cohabit.
Keep a diary of all aspects of the harassment and record how the stalking is effecting you mentally - this can help with a successful prosecution. Record the details of any witnesses to the harassment.
Video or photograph the suspect, for example if he or she is standing outside your house. …