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'We're here for you' - Officers offer advice and support to victims as country marks National Stalking Awareness Week
24 Apr | 09:27

PC Andy Gill has dedicated a huge chunk of his policing career to tackling cyber-stalking & harassment

This National Stalking Awareness Week we want to remind you that we’re here for you. 

Lockdown does not mean a temporary end to stalking; a global pandemic will not halt a person’s fixation and obsession. Instead, it is likely that tactics will change; stalkers may shift their focus online.

One man, who knows the crippling toll stalking can take on a victim and the lengths a stalker will go to prey on their victim, is PC Andy Gill.

PC Gill has dedicated a huge chunk of his policing career to tackling cyber-stalking and harassment, harnessing his knowledge of computers, apps, phones and devices to expose the abusive behaviour of stalkers and help protect and seek justice for victims. 

He said: “If you think of a stalker, you will probably think of someone hiding in the shadows, watching - and while that is a recognised form of stalking, stalking isn’t limited to just watching a person’s every move.

“Ringing someone up repeatedly and saying things that cause alarm – or saying nothing at all, leaving them unwanted gifts, bombarding them with emails, hacking their social media or email to read private messages and know their whereabouts. These are all typical stalking methods too.

“Stalking is an ever-evolving offence as technology and people’s lives change. New and unusual ways of stalking are now emerging and we as police have to understand and respond in an equally adaptive fashion.

“As a Force, we are committed to making sure obsessive individuals are brought to account for their actions, we urge anyone with concerns, no matter how small, to speak out and contact us.”

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, added: “Unfortunately lockdown can give a stalker more knowledge of their victim's whereabouts - leaving a victim to feel more anxious and fearful.

“Threats online are very real and can be just as frightening as those made in person. I don’t want anyone to underestimate them. Whether it’s offline or online - it’s serious and we know too well how it can quickly escalate and the distress it can cause victims and their families.

"There are so many phone apps out there which are great for lockdown socialising but they need to be used with caution. If anyone is worried that they’re being stalked themselves, or that a family member or friend is, they shouldn’t hesitate to ask for help from our police force.”

For support, you can search Northumbria Police Stalking and Harassment for advice. Victims can also contact Victims First Northumbria on 0800 011 3116 who will give independent advice and support.

For further independent advice and information on stalking and harassment please contact the Suzy Lamplugh National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300 or search Suzy Lamplugh Trust online.

To report an incident or request an officer please use the ‘Tell us Something Pages’ of our website. If you want to contact us and you don’t have access to the internet then please call 101. In an emergency always call 999.

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