Living in fear - the police and CPS response to harassment and stalking (7869)

Chief constables should stop the use of Police Information Notices and their equivalents immediately.

[on]5th July 2017 [status]awaiting-review[/status][/on][on]24th January 2018 [status]being-progressed[/status][/on][on]24th January 2018 [comment]

MPS have NOT stopped using PIN’s as the force are following the guidance of the NPCC National Lead – MPS are also awaiting the outcome of a Judicial Review in the New YearPolice Information Notices (PINs) have been introduced by forces in a number of forms after the introduction of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. Within the MPS they are known as First Instance Harassment Warnings and are recorded on Form 9999.The initial intention of the notices was to deal with the difficulty of proving that individual acts (which did not in themselves amount to offences) had been committed by an accused who knew or ought to have known that this would cause the victim harassment, alarm or distress.PINs have no legal or statutory basis and because the decision to issue them is purely an operational matter for the police, they could best be described as a tactic to prevent further offending. When used correctly they should be for low level incidents and of harassment where an arrest is not the preferred option.Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) guidance says that these warnings can be useful in various circumstances. For example:

• When the suspect doesn’t realise that their alleged actions may be a criminal offence • When only one instance of harassment has occurred (so it isn’t a “course of conduct” under the Act • When there is evidence of a “course of conduct” but the victim is unwilling to support a prosecution

CPS guidance states ‘there are a number of benefits, including making sure people understand the law; preventing incidents from escalating and helping possible future prosecutions.’After making the recommendation into the removal of PIN’s, the HMICFRS report went on to say:‘We recognise that to remove PINs from use may leave a gap in the options available, particularly for those victims who do not want to support police action but just want the behaviour to stop. However, PINs could be replaced by an order for harassment crimes similar to the proposed Stalking Protection Orders (SPOs)’Such an order does not exist.Before making any decision to stop using PIN’s, the MPS are awaiting further guidance from the NPCC National lead for Stalking, ACC Garry Shewan and have reminded staff about their appropriate use.

The MPS has guidance for the correct issuing of a harassment warning and this states: the decision to serve form 9993 must be made with your supervisor

[/comment][/on][on]4th June 2018 [status]will-not-be-progressed[/status][/on][on]4th June 2018 [comment]