Amendment 114D

Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill - Report (6th Day) – in the House of Lords at 5:17 pm on 17 January 2022.

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Lord Russell of Liverpool:

Moved by Lord Russell of Liverpool

114D: After Clause 55, insert the following new Clause—“Training on stalkingThe Secretary of State must seek to ensure that every professional in the criminal justice system, including staff of the Crown Prosecution Service, probation officers, police officers, and other relevant public officials involved in any investigation or legal proceedings involving stalking, has attended and completed relevant specialist training.”Member’s explanatory statementThis amendment aims to promote the early identification of stalking, and better investigation and prosecution of the crime, by requiring the Government to implement the adoption of specialised stalking training for relevant public officials which is currently not mandated.

Photo of Lord Russell of Liverpool Lord Russell of Liverpool Deputy Chairman of Committees

My Lords, I start by thanking several noble Baronesses who, for many years, have been trying to persuade Her Majesty’s Government to address stalking and understand it rather better than we have done hitherto. In no particular order, I thank the noble Baronesses, Lady Royall, Lady Brinton—who we will be hearing from in a minute—and Lady Newlove, and pay tribute to them for their persistence.

This is a simple and brief amendment, designed to ensure that the many agencies and individuals that encounter different forms of stalking know better what it is they are dealing with. There are two key messages that we need to take on board. The first is that stalking is carried out in England and Wales on an industrial scale. There were 1.5 million victims of stalking in 2019-20 in England and Wales. Only 0.1% of those instances resulted in a conviction. Around 77% of that 1.5 million experienced an average of over 100 stalking incidents before they actually plucked up the courage to report it to the police. For those noble Lords of a mathematical bent, 77% of 1.5 million is not a million miles away from 1 million, and if you multiply that by 100, you start to get some sense of the scale of what we are talking about. It is staggering.

The second point that it would be helpful to take on board is the complexity of stalking. Forensic psychologists and psychiatrists have developed the “stalking risk profile”, the authoritative tool used to understand and codify the different types of stalking. It outlines five different stalker types, and I shall briefly take noble Lords through them and explain why as I do it.

The five types are broken down by the prevalence of each in a clinical setting. What is relevant for today’s amendment is not the first and predominant stalker type, known as the rejected stalker, which has the highest prevalence of violence and will pursue the victim, often a former partner, for either reconciliation or revenge. The rejected stalker type is responsible for 54% of stalking incidents—by a strange coincidence, almost exactly the estimated amount of stalking incidents that are domestic-abuse related.

How about the other 46%? Before I go on to that, I pay tribute to the Government, the NPCC and College of Policing for the new national framework for delivery for policing violence against women and girls announced by Maggie Blyth last month. It is genuinely a very positive leap forward for dealing with stalking, primarily domestic stalking. However, even domestic abuse stalking is complex. Alongside the framework, as you can see on the College of Policing website, is a document called the “framework toolkit”, which breaks down by type of incident all the different types of stalking and harassment that are likely to take place; it then subdivides them into the myriad different laws and types of guidance that the police should consider when trying to work out what type of stalking incident this is. I am a lay man and I know a certain amount about it, but my observation would be that, in many cases, one would require a PhD in criminology to follow the decision tree of all the ways in which one might respond to an incident, and how best to deal with it.

What about the other four stalker types? We have the resentful stalker, which is about 15% of that 1.5 million. They often have a deliberate intent to cause fear or distress to a victim in response to perceived mistreatment. Legal sanctions often exacerbate their behaviour, and they frequently require psychiatric treatment. I would venture to guess that the resentful stalker is in many cases responsible for the shameful incidents that we hear about, whereby leading politicians, particularly female politicians in this country, from the other end of the Palace of Westminster, receive frequently hateful and disturbing threats to themselves and their safety, as well as that of their families and staff. Some 15% of stalkers are doing that.

The next category is the intimacy-seeking stalker. This is somebody who is quite frequently mentally unstable and wants to have an intimate relationship with the person they are stalking. You may recall one or two quite well-known women, usually, in the public eye, perhaps well-known journalists—in one instance, somebody who not infrequently appears on “Newsnight”, who has had the experience of being stalked by somebody in this category since they met briefly many years ago at university. I suspect that that individual has received not just 100 instances of stalking by this individual— I imagine it probably goes into the thousands.

The next category is the wonderfully named incompetent stalker, which represents about 11% of the 1.5 million. This individual tries to forge a relationship with the victim in socially inappropriate ways. Again, frequently, psychiatric help is required to try to make them understand what it is that they are doing.

In the fifth and last category is the predatory stalker. They stalk victims for sexual gratification, often in preparation for an assault, and sex offender treatment may be required. I suspect that in that category goes a certain rather infamous gentleman who until recently was in the police force but is now a guest at Her Majesty’s pleasure for a very long time indeed.

So how can the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office help those charged with protecting these 1.5 million victims, particularly the substantial number—46%—who are not being targeted by the rejected, domestic abuse-type stalker? The new framework makes a good start, but it does not make use of some of the very effective initiatives that are out there, such as MASIP, which I discussed briefly with the Minister this morning, or Lifeline, a specialist training course for individuals who have to look at stalking developed by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust. It is extraordinarily effective, and dovetails very effectively into Domestic Abuse Matters, which is the predominant domestic abuse training that police and other agencies are receiving.

I do not expect the Minister to stand up at the end of this and say, “Lord Russell and all the rest of you, you’re completely right, we’ve totally taken it on board and we’re going to do exactly what you ask”. I would be rather alarmed if she did. But what I would ask her and her colleagues and advisers to do is to carefully consider this problem—the scale and the sheer complexity of stalking, particularly non-domestic abuse stalking—because it not going to go away.

The reaction of the Government and statutory agencies to the incidence of violence against women and girls over the last three or four years strongly reminds me of the fable about the frog who was burned alive sitting in water that was gradually heating up, as incident after incident, story after story, heats up in this case the political temperature, until the politician in the bath suddenly finds that they are soon going to be in need of medical help, because they have allowed this situation to develop. Stalking has similar characteristics; it is not going to go away.

Many people in public life, especially the lady politicians we were referring to earlier, know exactly what it feels like to be stalked. Based on the law of averages, I would be astonished if some of the Ministers dealing with this, their advisers and extended teams, have not themselves personally experienced stalking in some form or another. Stalking is not selective when it chooses its victims.

This amendment is designed to strongly suggest to Her Majesty’s Government that, in order to avoid the equivalent of a dreadful Sarah Everard moment that is very specifically related to stalking, they should voluntarily choose to act proactively and put in place an effective and comprehensive approach to enable the sheer complexity and scale of stalking to be understood better—and they should do that now. I beg to move.

Photo of Lord Haskel Lord Haskel Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

My Lords, the noble Baroness, Lady Brinton, is taking part remotely. I invite the noble Baroness to speak.

Photo of Baroness Brinton Baroness Brinton Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Health)

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Russell, for his comprehensive introduction to this amendment and his explanation of the different types of stalking.

When Gracie Spinks was stalked and then murdered in June by a non-partner, her case was made infinitely worse by the behaviour of the police both before and after she died. In February, she had reported the worrying behaviour of Michael Sellers to her local police. Despite his behaviour escalating, she had no support from them. There are also issues about the behaviour of officers after her murder, and five have now been issued with IOPC disciplinary notices.

As the noble Lord, Lord Russell, outlined, the 2019-20 Crime Survey for England and Wales estimated that 3.6% of adults had experienced stalking in the last year. The noble Lord said that amounted to about 1.5 million people, of whom just under 1 million were women and over half a million were men. As around 46% of stalking is carried out by non-partners or former non-partners of the person, it is not covered by the domestic abuse legislation nor, because a large number of men are involved, the violence against women and girls legislation, and is therefore not covered by the new framework. The amendment asks for a strategy on stalking to ensure that front-line staff throughout the criminal justice system are trained and can identify, and respond appropriately to, potential and actual stalking cases.

I and others have been asking for a strategy and for comprehensive training on stalking for over a decade. Earlier this year, during the passage of the Domestic Abuse Bill, the Minister was kind enough to say that that Bill was not an appropriate vehicle for amendments about stalking because almost half of stalkers are not partners or former partners of the person they are stalking, and she proposed that we should table some amendments to this Bill. Yet at every stage the Government have resisted this.

For anyone, such as myself, who has been stalked or who knows the damage done to family and friends who have been stalked, it seems as if things are now going backwards. The case of Gracie Spinks, brutally murdered four months after she had reported the worrying and escalating behaviour of her stalker, demonstrates why training for front-line staff, including police, and an integrated strategy for managing the early identification of stalking and, particularly, fixated and obsessed people, are so important.

It is good that the Government have moved on domestic abuse and on violence against women and girls, and I thank them for it, but until this Government understand that stalkers continue to ruin their victims’ lives with escalating behaviour, resulting in cases of violence and murder, unfortunately they will not change anything on the front line for those trying to help these victims, who are mainly women.

I hope the Minister is able to help take this issue forward. Could she please say when is actually a good time to bring something forward? Ten years of warm words from Ministers is just not enough when staff in the criminal justice system are still not being trained even to recognise, let alone handle, stalking.

Photo of Baroness Royall of Blaisdon Baroness Royall of Blaisdon Labour 5:30, 17 January 2022

My Lords, I am proud to have added my name to this amendment, which I believe is vital. I thank the noble Lord, Lord Russell, for his kind words but, most importantly, for giving the stalking facts and figures, which are truly startling. The scale is huge and the complexity daunting, and he gave a brilliant and well-informed exposé of the problem.

It is true, as noble Lords have said, that great progress has been made in the last 10 years since stalking was first recognised as an offence. I am grateful to the Minister for her work and to noble Lords on all sides of the Chamber who have pursued this issue. I must also mention the indefatigable work and campaigning of Laura Richards, our mutual friend John Clough, the families of victims, and courageous survivors. My work at Oxford, for which I refer noble Lords to my interests as set out in the register, brings me into contact daily with staff and students who suffer from the insidious crime of non-domestic violence-related stalking. They live in constant fear alongside the 1.5 million other victims.

Among the progress that has been made, I am of course delighted that there is now a national strategy for the policing of violence against women and girls but, as has been said, that does not cover the vast number of people who are being stalked where the stalking does not relate to domestic violence. However, it is brilliant that violence against women and girls must now be a strategic priority for all police forces and that they will be assisted by a new local duty to tackle it as part of any work in partnership with other parts of the criminal justice system and all parts of the policing landscape. I celebrate that at last there is a truly national approach that should lead to the identification of the most dangerous and serial perpetrators of violence, more focused investigations, an increase in prosecutions and a reduction in the murder of women, serious harm and repeat victimisation.

Of course, there is a “but”, hence the amendment. We desperately need a strategy for all categories of stalking, and I endorse the comments made by the noble Baroness, Lady Brinton, and the noble Lord, Lord Russell. When are we going to have a more global strategy in relation to stalking?

Strategies are crucial and welcome but, like legislation, they have to be implemented in order to have their desired, much-needed effect. That requires systematic specialist training. As noble Lords will be only too aware, my long-standing concern has been about stalking in all its forms, not just that which involves domestic stalking. Training must be provided relating to all forms of stalking. There must be a national approach so that no matter where a victim seeks help and reports an incident, and wherever a perpetrator is apprehended, those who answer the phone and take whatever steps are necessary to support the victim and investigate a case must have similar experience.

As we know from the excellent inspections by HMICFRS, reports by experts and the evidence of survivors and the friends and families of victims, to date that has not been the case. These women, and sometimes men, have been utterly failed by the piecemeal approach to training. It is no exaggeration to say that countless women, such as Hollie Gazzard, would be still alive if there had been appropriate training, if their calls had been responded to in the proper manner and if the people answering the calls had understood what stalking was. Helen Pearson called the police 144 times over five years. If they had understood that she was a victim and was not wasting the police’s time, her situation could have been properly dealt with.

My strong preference would be to have a regulation in the Bill to provide for mandatory training, but I know from long experience that that would not be accepted by the Government. I first spoke about this in moving an amendment in February 2012, supported by the noble Baroness, Lady Brinton, when we secured agreement to create the offence of stalking. I have been told on countless occasions since then that the appropriate place for training requirements is in guidance—but guidance has ensured that only a few police forces have taken the need for training seriously and most have not, and women have been murdered and others have had their own lives and those of their families destroyed. Over the years it has been cruelly apparent that guidance is not enough.

With the ever-increasing focus on and understanding of the extent of the appalling violence against women and girls, including stalking, and with the appointment of Maggie Blyth to spearhead the policing strategy, I hope that the need for quality nationwide training will be understood and that it will be implemented. However, I would like an assurance from the Minister that the Secretary of State really will seek to ensure that the training takes place and, vitally, that there will be the necessary funding to enable it. I would also be grateful if she could explain what mechanism is or will be in place for that to be monitored, and how we as a Parliament can hold the Government to account on this vital issue.

Photo of Lord Paddick Lord Paddick Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

My Lords, I pay tribute to the tireless work over many years of all three noble Lords who have spoken in this debate. Stalking remains widely misunderstood by many in the criminal justice system—specifically, how serious and complex it can be and how widespread it is, as noble Lords have explained. The amendment aims to remedy that situation, and we support it.

Photo of Baroness Newlove Baroness Newlove Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Russell, for tabling this amendment. I praise the tireless work of the noble Baronesses, Lady Royall and Lady Brinton, in this area. I am delighted to put my name to the amendment because of the work of Laura Richards, who has also worked tirelessly. Even though she is not in the UK, she still works tirelessly on podcasts, which I suggest that everyone listens to; they are brilliant in the stories that they cover, but it is very sad to hear the journeys that some women go through.

I will not add much more to what my colleagues have said. Stalking, on its own, is horrific. I really welcome what we now have on domestic abuse stalking and I thank the Minister for the conversations we have had. However, it scares me that this piece of legislation has been left to wander in the fields again. I feel we have taken 10 steps forward and 50 back. Listening to victims of this horrendous crime in my former role as Victims’ Commissioner—victims I am still listening to—I know that the problem with stalking is that you cannot see it. If you had a scab on your hand and we could see it, we could then do something tangible. Stalking is horrific and coercive, both mentally and physically.

When we look at amending and putting this legislation into place, the default is that we must train better. Now we are asking that we have a standard of training for non-domestic abuse stalking. I believe that every word from the noble Lord, Lord Russell, and the noble Baronesses, Lady Brinton and Lady Royall, adds to the quality of what this training should be. Unfortunately, if a stalking victim phones up, it will not be the first time; they will be at the end of their tether. In society and under Governments past and present, we have waited until somebody is murdered brutally—taken. That should not be the case, as the horse has already bolted.

I ask the Government to look at this again: please put this national strategy for non-domestic abuse stalking right next to domestic abuse stalking. Then it will not be piecemeal and all these agencies will fully get what happens to victims of stalking.

Photo of Lord Mackay of Clashfern Lord Mackay of Clashfern Conservative

My Lords, the first Bill I can remember that dealt with this subject did so under the name of “harassment”. That was before 1997. This whole evil has grown extraordinarily since then. I am not aware of any real analysis of the reason for that exponential growth, but it is certainly important that the people who have to deal with it understand what is involved. Unless and until that is developed fully, the problem will probably continue to increase.

In the list of people in this amendment, I do not see mention of the judiciary. Does the noble Lord, Lord Russell, have it in mind? Obviously, judges have to understand lots of different things that come before them and the judicial training system has been developed very much over a number of years. It is very effective. If it is intended to include the judiciary, it would be very advisable to say that, because the judicial training system would take account of that and, no doubt, as he said, look for the resources required to do it properly.

Photo of Lord Coaker Lord Coaker Shadow Spokesperson (Defence), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Opposition Whip (Lords)

My Lords, I add our strong support for this amendment. I pay tribute to my noble friend Lady Royall, the noble Lord, Lord Russell of Liverpool, and the noble Baronesses, Lady Newlove and Lady Brinton, along with many others, for their tireless efforts and leadership on this issue and their informative and inspirational words this afternoon.

The crucial point is that stalking is an offence that escalates. Victims and their families are being let down to an extent by the failure to recognise the seriousness of this crime—although, to be fair, that is improving—and the failure to manage serial and dangerous offenders. This Chamber has supported stronger action to tackle stalking perpetrators and protect victims in multiple pieces of legislation over the past few years, yet we find ourselves having to raise it again.

As the noble Lord, Lord Russell, pointed out, the amendment is a fairly moderate ask. Having said that, it is exceptionally important; it will make a huge difference to ensure that those interacting with stalking victims and investigating these offences have specialist training. The Minister should accept it and the Government should go even further in tackling this vile, criminal behaviour, on which the whole Chamber is united.

Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State, Home Department 5:45, 17 January 2022

My Lords, I join others in paying tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Russell of Liverpool, and his ongoing determination on this subject. The noble Baroness, Lady Royall, must also be commended as she not only educated me on the whole subject, way back when, but has shown that same tenacity—ditto the noble Baroness, Lady Brinton, who regularly shares her story with us. I join the noble Baroness, Lady Royall, in commending John Clough and others for their untiring campaigning on this. I have met John Clough; he is a truly wonderful man.

I totally get the sentiment of what the noble Baroness, Lady Royall, and the noble Lord, Lord Russell of Liverpool, are saying. He and I spoke earlier; we reflected on the journey we have come on, since I got into your Lordships’ House almost 10 years ago, in terms of the perception and awareness of and attitudes towards domestic violence, domestic abuse and stalking. While domestic abuse was certainly on the radar, there was a clunking attitude towards dealing with it; stalking is one step behind it, but to say we have gone backwards is just not the case—we have made great progress. However, I acknowledge—I think he sees this—that we have further to go, particularly in training on stalking and domestic abuse. It is a most dreadful crime; the impact on victims can be so dreadful.

I talked at length in Committee about the many actions to address stalking that we are taking through the tackling violence against women and girls strategy. I will not go through them all again, but the Government are totally committed to protecting and supporting the victims of stalking. We are determined to do everything we can to stop perpetrators at the earliest opportunity. On the point of the noble Lord, Lord Russell, that the VAWG strategy does not deal with male victims, I say that it makes it clear that, while the term “violence against women and girls” is used throughout the document, it refers to all victims of the relevant offences, including stalking. I am glad he raised that, as it allows me to clarify it.

The noble Lord also brought up the point that stalking is not only an awful crime but a very complex and multifaceted one. We talked about that earlier as well—the resentful stalker who may go after politicians, the intimacy-seeking stalker, the incompetent stalker and the predatory stalker. They come in all forms. As he said, many are not former partners of their victims, including so-called intimacy seekers and predatory stalkers. Within each category, there is a wide range of different types of stalking behaviour. Therefore, the Government totally acknowledge that the police need to be well informed about the many characteristics of stalking and the stalker to effectively investigate stalking cases. He can rest assured—I know he does—that it is a priority for the Government. I empathise with the aim of this amendment, but it is important to acknowledge the progress that is being made in the work we are doing.

It is vital that the police are provided with the correct materials and training to deal with stalking cases appropriately. That is why, in 2019, the College of Policing released a set of new advice products on stalking for police first responders, call handlers and investigators. These make clear, for example—I say this in response to my noble and learned friend Lord Mackay of Clashfern—the key differences between stalking and harassment. A range of advice and guidance products has been published by the College of Policing for forces to deliver locally to help responders to investigate stalking effectively, understand risks and respond appropriately to stalking cases. I know that training is also available to the police from providers in the charitable and private sectors. The noble Lord, Lord Russell of Liverpool, and I talked earlier about the work of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, which runs the National Stalking Helpline and has been piloting a new training course for police called “Stalking Matters”.

Within Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, all new probation staff and prison offender managers are required to complete mandatory domestic abuse awareness online learning, which includes a specific module on stalking. The module has recently been updated and rewritten, based on current research, by subject matter and academic experts within HM Prison and Probation Service. A process map has been developed to set out a consistent approach to working with stalking in the probation service, which provides links to relevant support and guidance documents, as well as learning that staff can complete. Furthermore, the stalking practitioner guidance is being finalised; this aims to raise awareness of the nature of, and various risks associated with, stalking. It will also direct practitioners to the support that is available within HM Prison and Probation Service when working with perpetrators of stalking.

When we had an opportunity to speak earlier, the noble Lord, Lord Russell of Liverpool, and I talked about the complexity involved; while the report from Maggie Blyth was excellent, there is complexity in practitioner understanding. I will take that away and we can perhaps discuss it further; there is no point having these things if they are not readily and easily understandable.

I now come to training within the CPS. E-learning modules are available to prosecutors; these cover the stalking and harassment offences, with emphasis on building a strong case, working closely with the police and engaging with victims throughout the legal process. Alongside the online course, elements of stalking and harassment are also covered in tutor-led mandatory training on proactive disclosure and hate crime. This training supports the Crown Prosecution Service’s legal guidance on stalking and harassment and restraining orders, the joint stalking and harassment protocol, and the associated checklist that must be used by police and prosecutors to ensure that they are taking the correct action in stalking cases.

The noble Baroness, Lady Royall, talked about police resources. She will know that we have a substantial police settlement for 2022-23 but her underlying point, I think, is that we have to put it to good use, and that the Government’s priorities need to be reflected in the work that the police do. She and the noble Lord, Lord Russell, also talked about the importance of data, the monitoring of ongoing work and Parliament’s duty to hold the Government to account on the policies that they make.

Of course, the police, the CPS and the probation service are operationally independent of government. The noble Lord, Lord Russell, and I discussed earlier the issue of mandating what training they should receive, especially, as I have just set out, when there is so much good work happening already. There is always more to do, but I do not think that the mandating of training is the best way of doing this, given the good work that is going on. There is also a very real risk that, if we were to legislate for one crime type, it might then suggest to law enforcement agencies that it should be prioritised over others. I know that that is not what the noble Lord and the noble Baroness seek. Appropriate training for criminal justice system professionals on tackling stalking is vital, but so too is training on tackling domestic abuse, sexual offences and other crime types. We do not regard these as less important; neither, I know, do the noble Lord or the noble Baroness.

In acknowledging and empathising with the sentiment behind the amendment put forward by the noble Lord, I assure him that the training provided to professionals working with the criminal justice system on stalking is robust and helps to address issues such as early identification of stalking cases—but I also acknowledge that there is more work to be done. I hope that the noble Lord will be content to withdraw his amendment in the knowledge that I have addressed his concerns as far as I can, and acknowledging the work that has been done. I know that we will come back to these matters at a future occasion.

Photo of Lord Russell of Liverpool Lord Russell of Liverpool Deputy Chairman of Committees

My Lords, I thank the Minister very much for what she said. As usual, she has been thorough and comprehensive. She said what I would have expected her to say, and I thank her for that. I understand that there is a certain point beyond which she is unable to go; I will come back to that in a minute.

I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Brinton, for reminding us—and me—that stalking affects a very large number of men, as well as women. It is easy to forget that, as there has been so much focus on violence against women and girls. The noble Baroness, Lady Royall, reminded us that we are at about our 10-year anniversary of trying to get Her Majesty’s Government to focus on this and acknowledge that it will not go away. As the noble and learned Lord, Lord Mackay, said, it ain’t getting better, it is getting worse, and we do not completely understand why this is so badly the case.

The noble Lord, Lord Paddick, was able to remind us from his own experience that guidance is not enough, in and of itself. The noble Baroness, Lady Newlove, reminded us of the role of champions such as Laura Richards, and others, who have been speaking up very effectively for the many victims—giving them a voice, trying to make us understand how they feel and what they have gone through. As she said, stalking is insidious. I suspect that, by the law of averages, we all probably know somebody who has been stalked, albeit that it is probably not a subject that we would readily raise around the dinner table. I suspect that, if we spoke to such people who we know—if they were prepared to open up about what their experience was like—and listened to them and watched the look in their eyes as they spoke about it, it would be pretty wrenching; that is the reality of it.

The noble and learned Lord, Lord Mackay, made a very good point about the judiciary, with which I absolutely agree; the judiciary needs training just as much as the rest of us. However, for the judiciary to be able to exercise its duties properly, it is incredibly important that among all the different bodies charged with identifying when a case of stalking is serious enough to become the subject of a prosecution, the way that this is pursued and the case is put together, by people who know what they are doing, is as watertight as it is humanly possible to be. However well intended and well trained, if a judge is faced with a prosecution case that, frankly, is not watertight, then, however strongly he or she may feel that an injustice is being done, if the case being put forward is inadequate, the law must follow its duty, possibly deciding not in favour of the victim—and it would not be the victim’s fault. That is the essence of what we are trying to avoid; it is going on and it will continue to go on until we really grasp it.

I will not detain your Lordships. I had hoped that we would do this in 30 minutes, but we will do it in under 45 minutes. I thank the Minister again for what she said, and the noble Lord, Lord Coaker. There is a huge focus on the inputs in many of these interactions from the Front Bench: there is a long list of money for this, an initiative for that, this service having this and that service having that. To come back to the issue of data, in the future I would like to hear less about inputs and more about outputs. We need the evidence that these input are actually working and making a difference. I know we will come back to this subject, but I genuinely believe that, until and unless all the different bodies dealing with these distraught victims, who come to the police perhaps after 100 instances of insidious stalking, are equipped with the knowledge and experience they need to really grab hold of it and give victims some justice, it will continue to haunt us and, indeed, stalk us. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 114D withdrawn.

Amendment 114E not moved.