At least one stalking or harassment case reported every day in Welwyn Hatfield

The amount of stalking and harassment reports in Welwyn Hatfield has nearly doubled. Picture: Getty

The amount of stalking and harassment reports in Welwyn Hatfield has nearly doubled. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

There was at least one case of stalking or harassment reported to police every day in Welwyn Hatfield last year, latest figures have revealed.

The Office for National Statistics has for the first time released police recorded crime data on stalking and harassment at a local level.

It shows that during 2017 in Welwyn Hatfield, 547 cases of stalking, harassment or malicious communications were reported, compared to 288 in 2015 – a 47 per cent increase.

However, the ONS has warned that the spike may be down to improved reporting to the police.

A spokeswoman for The Suzy Lamplugh Trust, which campaigns to reduce the risk of violence and aggression, welcomed the figures being released, but said mixing harassment and stalking statistics muddies the overall picture.

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“Recording stalking and harassment in the same data set does not give a clear indication of the prevalence of these individual, distinct crimes,” she added.

Katie Ghose, chief executive of Women’s Aid, said: “From our work with survivors, we know that many women experience stalking as part of an ongoing pattern of controlling and abusive behaviour after leaving an abusive partner.

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“All too often abuse that does not leave bruises is not taken seriously enough.

“These acts are often not seen as harmful as physical abuse when isolated yet together they create a life filled with threats, a life lived in fear.”

She added she was pleased with the progress police were making in combating the problem.

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