Sussex Police have re-affirmed their committment to keeping people safe when they report stalking.

There has been an increase in stalking reports in the past two years. Factors to this include confidence by victims, more accurate recording by police, and increased awareness by officers and staff, following the recent tragic death of Shana Grice.

These are complex issues, often involving people known to each other.

National figures show that some two-thirds of all stalking cases involve intimate or ex-intimate partner relationships, with the remainder being acquaintance or stranger cases. This picture is reflected in Sussex.

Speaking at the start of National Stalking Awareness Week, which is co-ordinated by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, Detective Chief Inspector Pierre Serra said: "We have improved our understanding of what stalking and harassment is and what our response should be.

"This is being reinforced force wide through sharing of guidance, training and reviewing stalking cases.

"We are absolutely aware of the consequences if our response is not the correct one, so we need to ensure that victims have confidence in how both police and the CPS will support them.

"We were one of the six forces who last year gave the Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) full access to our work and although it contained no specific recommendations for Sussex Police alone, we have been using it to further review and refine our systems and training, including the way in which we work with the CPS.

“This is a very important issue and a comprehensive policy for supporting victims is in place, updated recently following consultation with Veritas Justice and the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, both of which gave us invaluable feedback on our policy.

“The force has also been carrying out extra work with Paladin, a national organisation which supports high risk victims of stalking with their specialist Independent Stalking Advocacy Caseworkers (ISACs).

"They have trained a selected number of officers across Sussex who will have an extra level of specialism in this area of work. They are able to advise and support our other investigators whenever needed.”

"In addition, thanks to funding by Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne, community interest company Veritas Justice which provides independent stalking advocacy caseworkers who are working with people affected by stalking.

"Veritas have also been been providing extra training for officers and staff, including our call handlers, on how to spot signs of stalking. They have also delivered this training to our local statutory and voluntary partners across Sussex.