Big increase in cases of stalking and harassment in Essex

PUBLISHED: 08:57 11 February 2019

Seven-fold increase in stalking and harassment cases in Essex in the last 10 years.

Seven-fold increase in stalking and harassment cases in Essex in the last 10 years.

Archant

There has been a seven-fold increase in cases of stalking and harassment in Essex in the last 10 years.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed 1,215 cases recorded by Essex Police in 2008, compared to 10,616 cases in 2018.

Essex Police warn this could be down to changes made by the Home Office to how crimes are reported.

A spokesman for the force said: “We have seen a rise in reports of stalking and harassment across the country, and in Essex. This is due to changes in the way these offences are recorded by police forces nationally. However, victims also have increased confidence in reporting crimes such as these.

“Stalking and harassment can have a long-lasting psychological impact on victims and we encourage them to contact us so we can give them support and bring offenders to justice.”

Meanwhile, there has been a drop in the number of drug offences in Essex since 2008. Last year, there were 3,310 offences recorded, compared to 4,661 in 2008, which Essex Police attributes to its Operation Raptor teams.

“Our Operation Raptor teams, which tackle street and drugs gangs, continue to make huge inroads into these groups and the effective use of stop and search powers also sees more drugs and weapons found and seized,” the spokesman said.

There has also been a drop in cases of criminal damage and arson - in 2008, there were 23,813 cases, compared to 15,728 in 2018.

“Any crime is awful to experience, but the ONS data shows it is also rare, with 79 people out of every 1,000 in Essex reporting a crime in the 12 months to the end of September 2018,” the police spokesman said. “Crime is going up across the country but Essex remains a safe county to live and work in.

“The continuing reduction in burglaries means people are safer in their homes, with around two fewer burglaries every day in Essex than last year. However, we remain concerned about increases in violent crime including domestic abuse, crime related to gangs and drugs and sexual offences.

“Our priorities remain on violent crime, vulnerable people, doing more for victims and crucially a more local and visible presence across the county. That’s why we are increasing the number of police officers making Essex safer.”

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