News items—current and archived
New CPS/NPCC protocol
On 23 May 2018 the CPS, together with the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), have released a new Protocol on the appropriate handling of stalking or harassment offences. This is part of a package of measures to improve the way that the criminal justice system deals with stalking and harassment. The Alice Ruggles Trust understands that the protocol has been directly influenced by Alice's case.
The new measures aim to ensure that the criminal justice system identifies patterns of behaviour that amount to stalking or harassment for what they are, rather than looking at incidents in isolation. Furthermore, police and prosecutors, when presented with a case of stalking or harassment, must specifically consider the possibility of stalking. In stalking cases, appropriate risk screening and management must be put in place for both complainants and suspects. In order to determine whether the suspect could assault, harm or even kill the victim, even if the victim does not themselves fear this, complainants must be asked if they have altered their behaviour (even in subtle ways) in response to the alleged behaviour or activities of the suspect. Police Information Notices (PINs) should never be used in stalking cases.
Updated CPS training on stalking and harassment cases is to be undertaken by all prosecutors over the coming months. Police also need to be equipped with the relevant knowledge and skills to effectively identify and handle cases of stalking or harassment and to ensure that victims and witnesses are appropriately and safely supported through the prosecution process.
The Alice Ruggles Trust very much welcomes these measures, in the expectation that they will help ensure that victims of stalking are identified and better protected from the moment that they first contact the police.
Stalking Protection Bill
Stalking Protection Bill
The Stalking Protection Bill, a Private Member's Bill sponsored by Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, passed its second reading in the House of Commons on Friday January 19th and now passes on to the Committee stage.
The Bill aims to introduce measures called Stalking Protection Orders to protect victims when they report a stalking crime to the police, without putting the onus on the victim to apply for them. Importantly, breaching such an order would be a serious criminal offence that should result in immediate action by the police. The existence of such measures could have made a critical difference in Alice’s case, as in many others.
Serial perpetrator register
A petition containing 130,000 signatures, delivered on October 10, calls on the Prime Minister, Theresa May, to act now to save lives by protecting women from serial stalkers and domestic violence perpetrators by introducing a register of stalkers.
Such a register would, for example, allow police assessing the seriousness of a call from a victim to be alerted to previous incidents involving the perpetrator that would indicate a dangerous pattern of behaviour.
“An Hour to Catch a Killer”
A documentary about the police operation that resulted in the arrest and conviction of Trimaan ("Harry") Dhillion for Alice’s murder was shown on ITV on 12 October 2017, exactly a year after her death.
A report published on July 5 by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) and Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) into harassment and stalking found that people who have suffered repeated harassment or stalking are frequently being let down by under-recording, inconsistent services and a lack of understanding by the criminal justice system. The Alice Ruggles Trust welcomes the report but urges the Police and CPS to take its findings seriously and to act with urgency on all its recommendations.
"Raising the Bar" conference
On 29 June 2017, Paladin, the National Advocacy Service for high-risk victims of stalking, held a conference entitled "Raising the Bar: Best Practice in Stalking Cases". Clive was invited to tell Alice's story and to reflect upon the lessons he felt should be learned and what he would like to see change.
Raising awareness in the military
During June, Mike gave a number of presentations to several British Army units based in Germany on the signs and dangers of stalking and coercive control.