Victims of stalking in West Norfolk are being urged to seek help as police chiefs back a national awareness campaign on the issue.
This week is National Stalking Awareness Week and the annual campaign led by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, is focusing on the reporting of stalking cases and what police and partners can do to protect victims
Although the number of cases in Norfolk more than doubled last year to 153, compared with 70 in 2016, senior officers believe the crime, which relates to all unwanted contact, is still under-reported.
Victims are being encouraged to record everything that happens to them and be aware of their surroundings at all times.
And Temporary Detective Superintendent Andy Coller, who leads Norfolk Constabulary’s Safeguarding Department, said: “Stalking often has a huge emotional impact on the victim who can feel very much alone and unable to seek help for fear of repercussions or that they will not be taken seriously.
“We ask that if you have any concerns to please come forward. You’re not wasting our time or over-reacting.
“Only by increasing reporting can we gain a full understanding of the extent of stalking in the county and it is for such a reason that I urge victims to take the brave step to come forward and to report incidents to the police or any of the third party support groups available.”
Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner Lorne Green said: “One of the priorities in my Police and Crime Plan is supporting and encouraging victims and witnesses to come forward to disclose traditionally under-reported crimes such as stalking.
“With that in mind my office has commissioned the Norfolk & Suffolk Victims Care Service as a service where victims can receive practical and emotional support if they are a victim of, or witness to crime. This support is available at no cost to any victim of crime within Norfolk at any time.
“My office is also reviewing options to provide specialist support to stalking victims in the future. I am also reassured that Norfolk Constabulary takes stalking seriously, is encouraging victims to report and provides practical advice and guidance.”