In light of the Tania Moore case, to conduct a critical analysis of stalking and harassment in West Mercia: the need for effective identification, assessment and management of risks

Williamson, Paul A (2008) In light of the Tania Moore case, to conduct a critical analysis of stalking and harassment in West Mercia: the need for effective identification, assessment and management of risks. MSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    This dissertation will investigate the status of stalking and harassment within West Mercia Constabulary, and the need to identify, assess and manage risk. There have been recent tragedies involving stalking and harassment as a contributory factor prior to homicide, where failure by the police to identify high risk factors has ended in the loss of life. The primary aim of this work is to reduce the likelihood of future harm from stalking and harassment including the effects of serious violence and homicide.This is important in improving the satisfaction and confidence of victims, their families and the community. A variety of main methods were utilised to achieve the research aims. These included a review of current literature on stalking which is narrowed down to applying the knowledge and principles of risk to the stalking situation. Unstructured and semi structured interviews took place with police officers and victims of stalking as well as observation and statistical analysis of stalking offences in West Mercia Constabulary. The research then progressed to the design and application of a risk model to stalking and harassment case files with an implication that it could aid in the predictability of risk. A number of important findings have emerged from the research. There appear to be current gaps in both research and policing practice. Statistical analysis found that the nature and scale of stalking and harassment committed within West Mercia Constabulary broadly reflected academic research findings in relational type, victim and offender characteristics and method of offending. Stalking was also found to be a precursor to a small number of homicides. The researcher finds that it is possible to identify the underlying factors associated with increased risk. A significant finding is that those who commit the most serious assaults in stalking have a different profile than those who commit minor assaults. The items used to develop a stalking and harassment risk identification and assessment model would appear to have functional utility as the model was applied successfully to stalking cases and appeared to differentiate risk. The research also offers original value in proposing a reasonable and proportionate means to categorise stalking and harassment in order to manage the competing demands between volume and complexity and risk due to the pressure on police resources. The research has found out what is happening and provides new insight to the importance of identifying, assessing and managing the risks in stalking and harassment. Whilst acknowledging that there is no way of identifying or removing risk entirely, the researchers proposed risk model provides a starting point that can be built upon and developed through further research. Despite definitional difficulties and a lack of formal recognition, the greatest risk is lack of awareness of the risks presented by stalking and harassment. This has resulted in a number of recommendations for changes to police practice and procedure which led the researcher to produce a DVD to raise awareness of this unique crime. The challenge for the police service is how to respond to this need.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:48
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:14
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/627

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