UK call for cyber stalking overhaul
London - More than 80 MPs are calling for an overhaul of the country's stalking laws as the probation union said on Wednesday there could have been as many as half a million incidents in 2009.
The MPs, from all parties, are calling for a new law to outlaw cyber-stalking and to ensure victims' complaints are prioritised by police.
According to figures published by Napo, the union which represents probation officers, police recorded more than 53 000 offences of harassment two years ago but just 12% led to a successful prosecution.
The union said the problem was far more widespread than the latest figures indicated and was not being dealt with properly.
"In all probability there were 10 times the number of stalking incidents that actually occurred in that year," said Harry Fletcher, Assistant General Secretary of Napo.
He said just 2.2% of recorded incidents led to a custodial sentence and 10% led to a fine or community sentence.
"Stalking must be taken seriously by the police and prosecutors," he said. "It destroys lives and indeed can lead to loss of life.
"It is extremely worrying that cyber-stalking is still not an offence but is now prevalent across England and Wales."
The British Crime Survey, which is based on responses from the public, has indicated that up to five million people were stalked or harassed every year, Napo said.