Cheshire Constabulary’s Harm Reduction Unit (HRU) is set to benefit from over £1 million in additional funding secured by Police and Crime Commissioner John Dwyer, allowing the unit to take a new ground-breaking approach to tackling stalking.
The HRU is a collaboration between police, health, probation and victim advocacy partners. It is responsible for protecting victims of stalking and bringing offenders to justice and seeks to prevent reoffending by changing offender behaviour.
The length of time it currently takes for stalking cases to work their way through the criminal justice system can lead victims to withdraw and prosecutions can collapse as a result. The extra funding will embed specialist stalking prosecutors within the HRU, who will work to speed up the process for victims and improve conviction rates. Cheshire will be the only place in the UK where specialist prosecutors work with the police and other partners in this way.
Police and Crime Commissioner, John Dwyer, said:
“Cheshire is already leading the way when it comes to tackling stalking, and this extra funding means we can go even further. By working in new and innovative ways, the HRU will be able to improve the quality and timeliness of the criminal justice system for victims.
“Delivering justice for victims is a key priority in my Police and Crime Plan, so I’m delighted to secure funding which will enable the HRU to do just that. I want victims of stalking in Cheshire to be in no doubt that the police are here for you and will continually work in every way possible to seek justice for you.”
A speedier process through the criminal justice system will mean victims are able to spend more time on recovering from their experience. Securing more convictions means the HRU will be able to place a greater focus on rehabilitating offenders too, reducing the risk to society in the longer term.
Detective Sergeant Dave Thomason from the HRU said:
"We are thrilled to announce the new funding for the Harm Reduction Unit, which presents us with an incredible opportunity to further strengthen our collaborative efforts. As an established and integrated multi-agency unit, we wholeheartedly welcome the chance to work closely with our partners in the criminal justice arena. This funding will significantly enhance our ability to bring offenders to justice, reduce recidivism, and most importantly, hold stalkers accountable for their behaviour."
"Our 'whole system approach' from start to finish, complemented by the additional staff which will allow us to take primacy in investigating the most serious and complex stalking cases , will revolutionize our approach to tackling these crimes. With specialized investigators and enhanced support for victims, we expect to see a remarkable improvement in the quality and speed of our casework across the force more generally. This will directly translate into higher charge and conviction rates, ensuring that perpetrators are held to account for their behaviour."
"What truly excites us about this funding is the greater intervention options it offers, increasing the opportunity for behaviour change among some perpetrators. By intervening in what is essentially a pattern of repeated behaviour, we not only protect the victims who come forward but also safeguard potential future victims. This is a significant step towards creating a safer environment for everyone."
"With this funding, we are confident that the Harm Reduction Unit will become an even more formidable force, driving positive change in our communities. We are grateful for the opportunity to make a real difference and provide lasting protection to those who need it most."
Recent successful bids to the Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Interventions Fund have seen the total amount of extra funding secured by the OPCC exceed £13 million in John Dwyer’s term as Police and Crime Commissioner, meaning every £1 spent on the OPCC budget has generated around £7.60 for policing, crime prevention and supporting victims.
It’s vital to report every incident of stalking, no matter how small, to enable the police to build intelligence.
You can report non-emergency incidents via 101 or online at:
If you are in immediate danger, always call 999.
Pictured - Police & Crime Commissioner John Dwyer and DS Dave Thomason.
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