Stalking protection orders (SPO) go live across the country today and have the potential to make a real positive difference to the lives of stalking victims and their families.

Stalkers can cause serious harm to the victim’s health and wellbeing, and can cause serious injury as we have seen nationally, the results can be tragic.

The constabulary welcomes the introduction of SPOs to keep people safe and continue to keep the county a low crime area. A lot of work has gone into being prepared for launch of this new legislation, with training sessions being delivered to officers and police staff.

The orders can be placed on anyone that a court deems necessary, the perpetrator does not have to be convicted of an offence before they can be applied for.

Stalking Protection Orders can do two things:

n If the court deems it necessary, the order can place restrictions on a perpetrator, such as not to approach or contact a victim, or family member, not to enter a certain location;

n They can place requirements on the perpetrator, such attending drug or alcohol treatment programmes, signing on at a police station of present devices to a police officer for examination when requested to do so.

Detective Chief Inspector Dan St Quintin said: “Stalking is a very serious offence that causes significant harm to victims and their families. Stalking behaviour is caused by a fixation or obsession with the victim.

“It can include loitering in a public or private place, monitoring a person’s social media and internet use, contacting or attempting to contact someone, watching or spying on someone, interfering with someone’s property and publishing material relating to a person.

“Stalking Protection Orders will be a great tactic to use to prevent this behaviour.

“Any breaches of an order can carry up to five years in prison.

“We receive reports of concerns from victims, family members and organisations and we will always investigate any reports.

“I encourage anyone to contact Cumbria police if you are a victim of stalking or have concerns regarding someone from being a victim of stalking.”