The latest stalking statistics based on Parliamentary answers were published on July7th. They show that between 25th November 2012 until the end of May 2014, a total of 834 cases had reached a court. the Majority some 601 were charged with Stalking under section 2a of the Protection From Harassment Act, the rest were charged for the more serious act involving fear of violence, alarm or distress.
Stalking laws in Scotland came into force in December 2010. During the first 16 months of that legislation.362 prosecutions commenced. By September 2013 the number had reached 1,046. There is roughly a 30% increase year on tear of the number of prosecutions in Scotland. So there is therefore a sharp differential in prosecutions north and south of the border maybe as much as 4 fold. The most recent population figures show that there were 5.3 million residents in Scotland compared with 54.6 million in England and Wales.
Possible reasons for the Scottish situation maybe that the Crown Office has appointed a lead Prosecuter for all cases involving Stalking. In addition victims of stalking are referred to a dedicated Victim Information and Advice service run by the Crown Office. This no doubt increases victims' confidence in the justice system.
The number of Police staff who have seen the e-training package on stalking has risen from 27% in June 2013 to 38% by end of May 2014.Up from 38,434 to 52,176 in the 12 month period. Whilst this is positive some forces are lagging behind. Full details have been passed to the All Party Political Group(APPG) on Stalking chaired by Elfyn Llywd MP. Across at the CPS where a 2 online courses now exist, 50% of employed lawyers have completed the material. Information is still scarce on the nature of training given to Probation staff.
The APPG will be carrying out an investigation into the extent and consequences of Cyber Stalking during 2014 and also be looking closely at developments in Scotland.