Steep rise stalking and harassment cases in Hartlepool could be down to increased awareness, say Cleveland Police
Police campaigns and increased awareness could be behind a sharp increase in stalking and harassment cases in Hartlepool, the force has said.
These included a 164% rise in the number of stalking and harassment cases reported, increasing from 146 to 385, and a rise in rape offences from 18 to 35 – almost double, though other sexual offences dropped from 31 to 19.
Cleveland Police bosses said the total rise in figures can be attributed to a number of factors, but they are starting to see improvements thanks to the town’s community safety team.A spokesman said: “The force has long supported national campaigns and initiatives to increase awareness of these crimes both among the public and within the police and it is clear that both have benefited from these campaigns, with people having confidence to report and police having knowledge and expertise to investigate,” said the spokesman.
“National figures suggest that on average a victim will suffer 100 incidents before coming forward to police and it could be that increased public awareness has led to an increase in reporting.
“In line with College of Policing guidelines on stalking and harassment, our priority is to keep people safe and to investigate complaints of stalking and harassment thoroughly, while listening to and supporting victims.”
The force said although it is disappointing to see an overall increase in crime, which it said could be down to many factors including the reduction in officer numbers and simultaneous rise in demand over recent years, it was pleased to see a reduction of 20% in burglaries and a huge decrease of 61% in vehicle crime.
Cleveland Police is a partner in Hartlepool’s Community Safety Team, which was created in 2018 and sees the force, Hartlepool Borough Council and Cleveland Fire Brigade tackling crime and community issues.
The spokesman said the partnership was “starting to see real results and an improvement in neighbourhood safety and quality of life in our communities” and the work would continue.