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Convicted stalkers could be fitted with GPS tags to warn victims

Behaviour change programme for perpitrators will also be introduced

Stalkers could be fitted with GPS tags which will send a warning to victims if they are nearby.

Scotland Yard announced it will be launching an anti-stalking unit in a bid to tackle the growing number of reported incidents and is considering introducing the electronic tagging system.

Latest crime statistics show that there were 1,197 stalking cases recorded by the Met in 2017 compared to 622 the year before.

A team of eight officers, alongside mental health specialists and victim advocates, will be based at the new Stalking Threat Assessment Centre (STAC) and will investigate high-risk stalking allegations over a two-year trial period.

Local borough officers will be given expert advice to improve the policing response by helping them identify risks, and assisting with management plans to protect the victim and public from the stalker.

A behaviour change programme for perpitrators will also be introduced.

The Mayor of London's strategy to tackle violence against women and girls in the capital has received £4million over two years from the Home Office's Police Transformation Fund - £1.4million allocated to the STAC.

The force attributed the rise in reports to a shake-up in the law in 2012 - which recognised stalking as a separate offence – resulting in more victims coming forward.

However, officers believe the introduction of this unit will lead to an increase in the number of stalking offences recorded, as experts can advise local police to spot the early signs.

Met Commissioner Cressida Dick said: "When we think of the impact on victims, violence is the most obvious concern that comes to mind, but, psychologically, stalking can also have a devastating impact that can leave victims feeling like they have no options but to alter their entire way of life.

"I have spoken often about my commitment to tackling violence - and of course recently there has been a focused effort on my part and on the part of the Met to explain our current work.

"I am committed to tackling violence in all its forms and there are clear opportunities through the STAC to intervene to stop incidents from escalating to violence.

"Our new approach to responding to stalking is through a fantastic multi-agency partnership that puts victims at the very heart of what we do."

Detective Inspector Lee Barnard, who will be leading the unit for the Met, said: “In terms of technology, we are already engaged with a firm in relation to electronic tagging for perpetrators and proximity alerts for victims to give them a warning when the individual may be near.”

The Met will work in partnership with Barnet Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust and the Suzy Lamplugh Trust.

Similar projects will also be piloted in Hampshire and Cheshire with a view to rollout nationwide if successful.