Stalking Protection Orders (SPO) provide another tool for police forces nationally, as well as the courts, to help protect victims and improve their safety.
Stalking is a pattern of repeated, unwanted behaviour that causes you to feel distressed or scared. It can be perpetrated by men or women. The orders, introduced under the Stalking Protection Act 2019, enable early police intervention, pre-conviction, to address stalking behaviours before they become entrenched or escalate in severity. Under the new legislation, only the police can apply for the orders, meaning there is no pressure on a victim to make an application. Applications are made to a Magistrates Court and if implemented, the respondent to the SPO must notify us of various details.
When in place, an order can require a person to stop carrying out specific actions, but importantly can also impose prohibitions and positive requirements, to further protect the victim and anyone connected to them, such as family or friends, from the risk of stalking. Under the Act, it is a criminal offence to breach the SPO or fail to comply with the requirements. The maximum sentence for a breach is five years imprisonment.