Stalking isn’t funny, trivial or romantic – it’s worrying, serious and illegal, Nottinghamshire Police warns.
The force has been taking part in National Stalking Awareness Week in a bid to make people consider what stalking actually is.
“Stalking is a repeated, unwanted contact from one person to another, which demonstrates either a fixation or obsession and causes the victim to feel alarm, distress or fear of violence,” said a police spokesman.
“It may involve personal contact but also via the phone, email, letter or social media.”
Stalking became a specific criminal offence in England and Wales for the first time in November 2012.
Amendments to the existing Protection from Harassment Act 1997 created two new stalking offences, one which has a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
As part of the week of action, Nottinghamshire Police shared advice and shared a video to help raise awareness of the problem.
Commenting on the video, Detective Chief Inspector Yvonne Dales of Nottinghamshire Police said people – especially young people – need to understand what stalking is for their own safety.
She added: ““We also need to help young people recognise the early grooming behaviours that are the trademark of the predatory stalker.
A major concern for us and partners is young people suffering this kind of behaviour and telling themselves it is not a police issue.
“We – the police, partner agencies, parents, friends, everyone – need to do all we can to make sure everyone gets the message that they should not, they must not, suffer in silence.”
To report stalking people are advised to contact Nottinghamshire Police on 101, or the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300.