Stalking and harassment

A joint inspection of stalking and harassment – 2017

Summary

This inspection is being carried out jointly by HMIC and Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI).

The inspection aims to assess the effectiveness of police forces and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in dealing with cases involving stalking and harassment, and to examine the service received by victims.

Objectives

The objectives of the inspection are to:

  • assess whether the leadership and governance within forces supports their identification and response to cases of stalking and harassment;
  • assess the effectiveness of police forces at identifying and managing the vulnerability of victims and risk associated with offenders of stalking and harassment;
  • assess the effectiveness of police forces and the CPS at investigating and prosecuting cases of stalking and harassment; and
  • identify effective practice and make recommendations for practice improvements.

Judgment criteria

Subject General criterion Specific criterion
Strategy and leadership
1. There are effective strategies in place and strong leadership is demonstrated at local and national level.
1.1. There is effective strategic leadership at national level.
1.2. Police and CPS national guidance is available and fit for purpose.
1.3. The force/CPS area understands the nature and extent of stalking and harassment.
There is effective strategic leadership at force/CPS area level.
1.5. The force/CPS area has an effective lead/single point of contact (SPOC) for stalking and harassment
1.6. The force has an effective, clearly stated policy on stalking and harassment.
1.7. The force/CPS area has oversight and performance management arrangements in place in relation to stalking and harassment.
1.8. Police and the CPS provide effective training to officers in dealing with stalking and harassment and ensure that all relevant staff have received this training.
1.9. The force has effective planning in place to identify and meet current and future demands in dealing with stalking and harassment cases.
Identification
2. Police and the CPS identify reports of stalking and harassment effectively.
2.1. Police and CPS staff recognise reports of stalking and harassment including offences committed via digital channels.
2.2. Officers and staff recognise the likely impact of stalking and harassment offences on the victim.
2.3. Officers and staff understand the risks and links between stalking and harassment, and domestic abuse.
Assessment and management of risk
3. The police assess and manage the risk to victims from offenders effectively.
3.1. Police use risk assessment screening tools effectively to assess risk to victims and families.
3.2. The police are able to identify and highlight repeat victims and repeat offenders.
3.3. The police and the CPS respond appropriately to manage risks from offenders to stalking and harassment victims.
Victim care
4. Victims receive appropriate care and support from agencies.
4.1. Agencies are responsive to the needs of victims.
4.2. Victims receive the enhanced entitlements of the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime.
4.3. Victims feel safer as a result of effective engagement with agencies.
Investigation
5. Police investigations are conducted effectively.
5.1. Police investigations are timely and thorough.
5.2. Investigations are effectively supervised.
5.3. Decisions on disposal of cases are appropriate and taken at the right level by the appropriate police or CPS staff in accordance with guidance/protocols.
5.4. Victims are notified of decisions in a timely manner to ensure they are kept safe, especially where there is higher risk.
Prosecution.
The CPS and police work together to progress cases involving stalking or harassment to court effectively.
6.1. Police case files accord with national file standards.
6.2. Prosecution decision-making is sound and meets the needs of the case.
6.3. Cases progress effectively and there is appropriate assurance.
6.4. The needs of victims and witnesses are met.