Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

We're Satisfied There's Change; FAMILY REACT TO STALKING CASE REPORT

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

We're Satisfied There's Change; FAMILY REACT TO STALKING CASE REPORT

Article excerpt

Byline: HANNAH GRAHAM Reporter hannah.graham@reachplc.com

THE family of murdered Alice Ruggles have welcomed changes in police attitudes to stalking after "lessons were learnt" following her death.

After Alice, 24, was killed by brutal ex-partner Trimaan Dhillon, her family, have thrown themselves into campaigning for changes to the law and greater understanding of stalking.

Yesterday, a report by the Independent Office for Police Conduct highlighted flaws in Northumbria Police's response when Alice reported Dhillon's behaviour in the days before he broke into her Gateshead flat and killed her.

Alice's mother, Sue Hills, said her family had worked with the IOPC in its investigation, and had helped change attitudes to stalking both locally and across the country.

Dr Hills said: "I think their conclusion is right and we're satisfied that they've done a good job.

"Although they found the police officers involved were lacking in understanding on the whole stalking issue, it would be wrong to think it was just them, that Alice really suffered because those four people didn't really understand what they were doing.

"The police in general, in Northumbria and around the country, don't understand about stalking, about the difference between stalking and harassment, and they've always gone for the easier charge of harassment.

"That comes down from the Crown Prosecution Service, which wants the charge to stick, and that, in turn, is encouraged by the judiciary. Unless judges start making sure that people are convicted and punished when they are genuinely guilty of stalking, police officers won't want to charge people with stalking.

"There needs to be a whole seachange in the way people think about stalking."

Dr Hills said she did believe changes had been made since Alice's death in October 2016.

"I think there is considerable progress being made and the way police, both locally and nationally, deal with stalking offences has changed," she added. …

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