Stalking: We have to do more to educate police officers about this horrendous crime

John and Penny Clough outside Preston Crown CourtJohn and Penny Clough outside Preston Crown Court
John and Penny Clough outside Preston Crown Court
The Government is currently passing a Stalking Protection Bill, and has said it is giving £4.1m to the Suzy Lamplugh Trust to better educate police officers about stalking and harassment.

A Home Office spokesman said: “Stalking is a horrendous crime that can have terrifying consequences.

“We welcome improvements in police recording, the increased use of the stalking offence by the police, and that more victims are feeling empowered to come forward.

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“But we know there is more to do to keep people safe. That is why we are supporting the Stalking Protection Bill, which will introduce new civil Stalking Protection Orders to protect victims and halt perpetrators at the earliest opportunity.”

Jane Clough (centre) with parents John and PennyJane Clough (centre) with parents John and Penny
Jane Clough (centre) with parents John and Penny

Breaching the order could result in up to five years in prison.

The mother of a Blackpool nurse murdered by her abusive ex-boyfriend from Preston agrees introducing these measures is a big step, but says unless the justice system uses them properly it “makes a mockery” of the system.

Penny Clough’s daughter, Blackpool based-nurse Jane Clough, was brutally stabbed to death by her abusive ex-partner Jonathan Vass, from Preston, outside her hospital workplace.Her family have been campaigning for the introduction of the register, and a related petition has gained more than 150,000 signatures.

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Penny says: “We are making great progress with the plans for a stalking register which will hopefully go through parliament and a lot of people now realise just what a dangerous behaviour it is. Even if we succeed the work isn’t over - we’ve got to try to protect the public more.

“These figures highlight that a lot of people are going through it. It’s so frustrating that we are not keeping victims safe enough after they’ve had courage to come forward.“It’s costing victims their quality of life and that is wrong.”

The figures emerged as there are ongoing calls to introduce a stalker’s register that would keep track of those convicted of stalking – similar to the Sex Offender’s Register.