Hackney sees first stalking arrest made in London since new laws introduced

A 41-year-old man has been arrested and charged in Hackney for stalking – the first time the Met used the legislation which makes stalking a criminal offence.

The arrest was came under the banner of Operation Athena, which saw the Met targeting prolific and dangerous offenders responsible for both domestic violence and hate crime.

Stalking legislation came into force on November 25, carry a maximum prison sentence of five years and it is hoped the new laws will provide extra protection for victims and bring more stalkers to justice.

Officers from the Met’s Athena team, assisted by officers in Hackney made 59 arrests in the borough during the two weeks of action until December 7, timed to coincide with White Ribbon Day, which raises awareness of violence against women.

There were 30 people charged with offences including harassment, actual bodily harm and common assault.

DCI Shabnam Chaudhri, who won a Met award last month for her work on hate crime and forced marriages, said: “Operation Athena is just one way for us to target offenders in Hackney who think they can assault and abuse victims.

“We will work tirelessly everyday to bring domestic violence and hate crime offenders to justice.”

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The campaign is not only for female victims however, and men suffering from domestic abuse are also encouraged to call an advice line on 0808 801 0327 or visit www.mensadviceline.org.uk.