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Stalking or harassment

Authorised Professional Practice

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This page is from APP, the official source of professional practice for policing.

First published
Written by College of Policing
Major investigation and public protection
4 mins read

The police service receives many calls relating to stalking or harassment, cases are diverse, some can be complex to deal with and there are some where the perpetrators pose a real threat of harm to victims. There is a need to develop a proportionate response, focusing resources on those cases that require them.

It is sometimes difficult to differentiate between stalking or harassment (the law does not define stalking) to determine the appropriate response. This advice seeks to support first responders to make effective, risk-based decisions. 

No framework or assessment approach is going to be 100% accurate but this advice, developed in consultation with our specialist partners and police practitioners, is intended to help responders to investigate effectively, identify and understand risk and respond appropriately.


Stalking protection orders (SPOs)

Supporting material

The documents listed above override any advice contained within the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) (2009) Practice Advice on Investigating Stalking and Harassment and College of Policing (2013) Briefing Note for Amendments to the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 relating to the initial police response.

Stalking protection order (SPO) national forms

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