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Matthew Scott prepared to act if investigation finds the force needs to change its stalking policy after Molly McLaren case

By Paul Francis

Kent crime commissioner Matthew Scott says he is prepared to act if an inquiry recommends changes to the way the force deals with claims of stalking.

An internal investigation is taking place into how the force responded to concerns raised by Molly McLaren about her ex-partner Joshua Stimpson, who last week was found guilty of her murder.

Molly had twice reported to police he had made derogatory social media comments about her and officers warned Stimpson to leave her alone or face prosecution.

Police Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott
Police Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott

Mr Scott said he did not want to pre-judge the outcome of the inquiry, but would respond appropriately if it made any recommendations.

“We need to make sure we are doing everything in our power to ensure tragic circumstances like this do not happen again.”

“With the investigation going on into this individual case, we need to let that happen. If there are lessons to be learned, I will make sure Kent Police has the resources it needs to do that.”

He said: “Stalking and harassment are a really important issue and one that we have seen increase in recent years. There is training available to police officers.

"I think what we need to do is, that while the family have worked very closely with the police, is to look at what happened in these individual circumstances and if there are lessons to be learned, to apply them.

“We need to make sure we are doing everything in our power to ensure tragic circumstances like this do not happen again" - Matthew Scott

“We need to make sure that people who might be subject to this know they can come forward to the police and know the police will take reports seriously and provide the appropriate response to them.

“Because there is greater victim confidence, we are seeing more people coming forward and report incidents of stalking and harassment and because of the threat of risk and harm, the police are spending more time looking into them.”

After Stimpson’s conviction, the family said in a statement: “We feel there needs to be more awareness over the dangers of stalking and the need for people to report any concerns that they may have to the police.”

The matter was originally referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), but it was sent back to Kent Police to be dealt with by the force's standards board.

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