Police issue stalking warning on Valentine’s Day – what to look out for

IT’S Valentine’s Day – and while some unexpected gifts, cards or messages might be welcome, others could be worrying.

Dorset Police has issued a warning to people over behaviour that can some become unpleasant stalking.

Stalking is a pattern of unwanted, repeated behaviour that leaves you feeling scared or distressed.

You don’t have to be threatened with violence to be a victim of stalking. Any kind of persistent, unwanted contact that causes distress is still stalking and is unacceptable.

But things like romantic comedies can normalise this sort of behaviour, and you may not recognise it as stalking, police said.

The force said when certain behaviours are combined in a way that follows the FOUR pattern – Fixated, Obsessed, Unwanted, Repeated – then its stalking and you should record what’s happened and report it before it escalates.

Dorset Police has also released a video showing how small, seemingly harmless gestures can escalate to something far more sinister.

Superintendent Jim Beashel said: “Stalking can also be carried out through letters, phone calls, covert observation or online. It may involve theft of your identity or criticism of you in online forums. It takes many forms but all are harmful and affect victims, their families and friends.

“Stalking can happen to anyone. A stalker can be a former partner, an acquaintance, work colleague or a stranger.”

Find out more about stalking and harassment and how to report it on the Dorset Police website at

You can also get advice from the National Stalking Helpline, on 0808 802 0300, and help and support from the Paladin National Stalking Advocacy Service at

Behaviour in some rom coms could be stalking, police say, normalising the behaviour

Behaviour in some rom coms could be stalking, police say, normalising the behaviour

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, David Sidwick, said: “I am pleased to see this powerful film being rolled out in Dorset. I hope it will help to raise awareness and robustly challenge the normalisation of the harmful behaviours perpetrators use to manipulate their victims.

“The more awareness we can raise about the dangerous actions of stalkers and help to dispel the misinformation around what can constitute stalking, the more we can help to protect people.

“I know that stalking is a very serious problem, which has a devastating impact on victims.

“As a candidate, I met Samantha Bumford, a victim of stalking, whose experience made me determined to make a difference when I came to office.

“Tackling the issue of stalking is a key feature of my Police and Crime Plan and, alongside the measures used by Dorset Police including Stalking Protection Orders, I have financially supported the Independent Stalking Advocacy service provided by YouTrust/Paragon and commissioned Victim Support in Dorset, who support victims of crime.

“I would encourage anyone who is worried or concerned they have been a victim of stalking to have the confidence to come forward and contact either Dorset Police, Victim Support or the National Stalking Helpline; you will be listened to.”

Superintendent Beashel added: “Please report stalking when you recognise the FOUR pattern of behaviours.

“Dorset Police can investigate the stalker and protect you, perhaps by using a Stalking Protection Order.

“We can refer you to an Independent Stalking Advocacy Caseworker (ISAC) to support you through any investigation and subsequent legal proceedings if the person is charged.

“We hope you have a safe, romantic Valentine’s Day, but if you ever recognise the signs of stalking, report it, because life isn’t like the movies. If you or anyone else is in immediate danger, call 999.”

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