Stalking and harassment rise in Barking and Dagenham

sarah everard

The number of stalking and harassment offences rose in Barking and Dagenham last year. - Credit: MPS

Stalking and harassment increased by 15 per cent in Barking and Dagenham last year.

There were 1,811 reports of stalking or harassment in the borough in the year to September 2020, according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales. 

This compares to 1,573 the year before.

The figure - which does not specify whether the victims and perpetrators were male or female - comes amid growing debate around the safety of women following the death of Sarah Everard.

The body of the 33-year-old marketing executive was discovered in woodland in Kent on Wednesday, March 10. 

A Met Police officer who was arrested on suspicion of her murder remains in custody.

The service is to be investigated over its handling of an allegation of indecent exposure against the same officer.

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Asst Commissioner Nick Ephgrave said on Friday, March 12: "I know the public feel deeply hurt and angry and I speak on behalf of all my colleagues when I say we too are horrified.

"I understand women in London and the wider public, particularly those in the area where Sarah went missing, will be worried and may well be feeling frightened.

"Londoners are likely to continue to see extra officers on the streets in the coming days. Our officers are committed to keeping you and your loved ones safe."

Barking and Dagenham's 15pc increase in stalking and harassment is the same as that observed in England and Wales. 

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) says stalking offences account for the increase - from 23,543 offences in 2019 to 64,265 in 2020.

However, the ONS expects a change to the way the Home Office counts stalking, harassment, controlling or coercive behaviour has caused an increase.

Neighbouring Newham also saw a 15pc rise, from 1,573 in 2019 to 1,811 in 2020.

The figure comes in the same week the town hall launched a domestic abuse commission report.

Barking and Dagenham has consistently topped counts of reported domestic abuse offences in the capital.

A school survey in 2017 and 2019 found 26 per cent of pupils in Years 10 to 12 thought it was sometimes acceptable to hit a partner.

The Crime Survey for England and Wales records all types of crimes, including those that might not have been reported to the police.