UK To Imprison Stalkers For 10 Years

The UK parliament will double the maximum prison sentence for stalking to ten years. Photo Credits: Twitter/aarif_indian

The UK is cracking down on stalkers. The Ministry of Justice announced that the current maximum prison sentence will now double to ten years. Cross-party pressure, combined with high-profile cases, caused the amendment of the current laws.

The maximum prison sentence for stalking will be doubled, bringing it up to ten years. Also, the maximum sentence for racially or religiously aggravated harassment will be increased to 14 years. Conservative backbenchers first introduced the bill last year. Alex Chalk and Richard Graham called for the increase of the law’s maximum limits.

Later on, Labour peer Janet Royall adopted the initiative in the House of Lords. It passed by a majority vote last month. Since then, ministers have been discussing it with MPs and peers. Justice minister Sam Gyimah came out with a statement supporting the amendment. He said that stalkers make their victims’ lives unbearable. He supports the new law, saying “these awful crimes can be properly punished.”

Gyimah also thanked Chalk and Graham for their efforts. He added that, in coordination with the criminal justice system, they can address mental health issues associated with stalking, The Guardian noted. The case of Ellie Aston served as the prime example for Chalk’s bill. Other high-profile cases also served to raise awareness on the issue. For example, Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis’ stalker Edward Vines, who stalked her for more than two decades, received a short three year sentence.

Furthermore, Alex Gray, who was Lily Allen’s stalker for seven years, remains indefinitely detained under the Mental Health Act. But, some have raised warnings about the doubled sentence terms. According to them, doing so could upset the hierarchy of sentences. This is especially true for crimes involving violence and physical harm.

In any case, the amended bill will return to the Commons on Tuesday. Richard Burgon, shadow justice secretary, noted that Baroness Royall’s amendment did not pass last month. “Thankfully, under pressure, the Tories have changed their mind,” Burgon said.

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Mikey is a copy editor and writer who is equally dedicated in both the roles. He takes specific interest in writing hard news.