crime

Police to look into tightening stalker laws

37 Comments

The National Police Agency (NPA) plans to look at tightening stalker laws. NPA Commissioner General Yutaka Katagiri said a series of cases involving delays and destroyed evidence have caused a loss of public trust.

In an attempt to reduce the "growing sense of crisis," Katagiri confirmed he would be looking into whether or not current laws need to be tightened, Fuji TV reported Tuesday.

After a man murdered the mother and grandmother of a woman he had been stalking in Nagasaki last December, family members said that the police had failed to protect them, despite repeated requests for help. The families and their lawyers have been petitioning the NPA and the National Public Safety Commission for changes to the current laws.

In a statement, Katagiri said, "We are in danger of losing the confidence and trust of the public. We need to meet the problem head on and tackle this growing sense of crisis," Fuji reported.

Further scandals arose recently after it was learned that Chiba prefectural police had not processed any paperwork relating to cases of stalking since the end of 2011. There were also nationwide reports that evidence had been destroyed or fabricated by law enforcement officials. The lawyers of bereaved families have complained that the legal process behind obtaining a desist order is over-complicated and needs to be streamlined.

Katagiri was quoted as saying, "The message we are receiving from the people is that they don't just want us to respond once an incident has taken place. They want us to take action to prevent these crimes taking place."

The families of those murdered by stalkers, usually girls and women, are also appealing for the NPA and the commission to introduce a system whereby an external body can examine police investigations in cases of stalking. The bereaved families have called on the NPA and commission to respond to the request by April 30, Fuji TV reported.

Katagiri said he would consult with experts in the field to gauge their opinions of the current laws. He also said the NPA is currently collating reports on the enforcement and efficacy of existing methodologies from prefectural police departments nationwide.

© Japan Today

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37 Comments
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We are in danger of losing the confidence and trust of the public.

Well with the police dressing up as school girls, groping women on trains, and driving drunk on public roads, I think that the police lost the public's trust and confidence a long time ago. How about you clean up things internally and doing your jobs instead of snoozing off in your kobans.

18 ( +20 / -1 )

I totally agree with Mirai Hayashi 1 million percent!!

3 ( +5 / -1 )

@Mirai

I don't believe the police has lost the public's trust at all. As in most cases in Japan, people in general just don't give a s**t. Or they do (when they watch TV) but then shrug and say "shoganai ne". Many foreigners might get upset at what they see as incompetence, but being a minority, it hardly counts.

Regarding stricter laws, it seems all the police need to do is get their act together an start doing police work and take serious complaints seriously. In this Nagasaki case, they obviously screwed up. Probably because of a lot of yes-men lurking around in the PD. Stricter laws will only bring with then MORE work and probably not make things any better when it comes getting things done.

Re-think, re-do,.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

I, too agree. The problem is that the "police" don't give a rat's ass about public trust. They are perfectly content with the way things are. And as this society, in its current state has demonstrated time and again, has showed us that its institutions are only concerned about what are in their best interests.

S

3 ( +4 / -1 )

In a statement, Katagiri said, “We are in danger of losing the confidence and trust of the public. We need to meet the problem head on and tackle this growing sense of crisis,” Fuji reported.

Just goes to prove they have no clue. They lost public trust many, many years ago as a result of their continued incompetence. Bottom line, they are stubborn and arrogant and don't care about public trust,. They delude themselves that they are special, masters at what they do and do not have to answer to anyone.... Meanwhile, it's bottom of the 7th in the cozy koban...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

They could start by weeding out their own memebers who are often caught doing pervy stuff.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yeah , no doubt they will set up a panel to formally study the issue , collect "information, make some kind of a final report / recommendation on it in a year or two by when the current top police honcho will have retired and it will get passed on to the next top guy who will shelve it. Isn`t that how " studies " to change laws end up here?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Look into, why would you release a PR about "looking into", obvious people have died from the current laws so fix it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Tap me on the shoulder when they actually DO something about it and aren't just looking into it.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Since when do Police make the laws?

I thought that the citizens voted for representatives and then the representatives would make the laws and then the police would enforce the laws.

It's not the place of the police to "make" laws.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

This stinks of "pre-crime" whereby the police take action before a crime is committed.

I'm sorry but that's not how a free and just society should operate.

People should be considered innocent and treated accordingly until proven otherwise in a court of law.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

NeverSubmit

That approach doesn't work with stalkers. By the time they are in a court of law, they will have already killed the person they are stalking.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm having a little problem seeing what the police can really do about this. So some guy is in your street 4 nights in a row. He might live there, he might be walking his regular route to walk, he might just be visiting his girlfriend in a nearby house. What do people want the cops to do? Arrest the guy for walking in a public space??

I think a reasonable compromise would be to issue anyone complaining of stalking with a GPS panic button If the person feels threatened they press the panic button and the signal goes through to the nearest koban giving them the location. Given how closely kobans are clustered in Japan it shouldn't be more than 2 kilometers, and the cops should be there in under two minutes.

Apart from assigning full-time police protection or arresting someone for "looking suspicious" I don't see how else this issue can really be dealt with.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I'm having a little problem seeing what the police can really do about this. So some guy is in your street 4 nights in a row. He might live there, he might be walking his regular route to walk, he might just be visiting his girlfriend in a nearby house. What do people want the cops to do? Arrest the guy for walking in a public space??

Frungy, the victims and their families have reported on people who are stalking/harassing them i.e. phone calls at all hours, sending hundreds of emails, accosting them on their way to/from home, sitting in their genkan, leaving threatening messages in their cars, etc. This is not just some person standing on the street a few nights in a row.

The police don't need to only toughen up the laws but need to actually ENFORCE the laws they already have. It's the lack of action that we pay them for through our taxes that have resulted in a loss of trust and effectiveness.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Would this include policemen dressed in school uniforms?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

wait... the police are worried about losing the public trust?

Can someone explain to me how laws don't apply in subway trains? I still can't believe the level of assaults that goes on.

I hope Japanese don't accept it anymore and improve their wonderful transit, and to other areas if effective.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Readers, please stay on topic. The subject is stalking.

When I had a problem back home years ago (tens of phone calls a day) the police tapped my phone to gather evidence and gave me a special number to call 24/7 if I was concerned or feeling threatened (I was living alone at the time). A police officer sat down with me, took a detailed report, and advised me exactly how to manage the situation, how and what to record details of, when to escalate the complaint, and just took the whole thing very seriously and provided great emotional support.

Luckily for me the guy got wind that the police were involved and backed right off, but they did say they had various levels of support and assistance should I have needed it. The best thing was that they took it seriously, and that is what is needed here. It is almost as if the police here feel that stalking is "normal" courting behaviour. It is actually really scary to be on the receiving end of even a mild form of it.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

NeverSubmit

Since when do Police make the laws?

They aren't talking about making new laws. The laws exist.

Further scandals arose recently after it was learned that Chiba prefectural police had not processed any paperwork relating to cases of stalking since the end of 2011.

The message we are receiving from the people is that they don’t just want us to respond once an incident has taken place. They want us to take action to prevent these crimes taking place.

Yes. That's what the mean. Actually doing their job.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"plans to look at tightening stalker laws."

Well OK Then!

FFWD 10 years and the new headline will be.

"Police to reconsider looking into stalker laws."

1 ( +1 / -0 )

NeverSumbit: "This stinks of "pre-crime" whereby the police take action before a crime is committed."

How would tightening the current stalking laws be 'pre-crime'? They not going to arrest and charge a stalker with rape or murder before that happens, for sure, but they could MUCH better enforce violation of restraining orders or check in on said stalkers and see if they're stalking, etc.

While of course we would never hear about police stopping a stalker from committing worse crimes, I for one would welcome not having to read constant reports about, "The family/victim had called police 10+ times to warn about the stalker's violent threats/acts, but nothing was done".

So again, while police couldn't arrest stalkers for crimes they haven't committed, they COULD enforce current stalking laws and help PREVENT said crimes from occurring.

"The message we are receiving from the people is that they don’t just want us to respond once an incident has taken place. They want us to take action to prevent these crimes taking place."

Exactly!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

SpeedApr. 11, 2012 - 10:55AM JST Frungy, the victims and their families have reported on people who are stalking/harassing them i.e. phone calls at all hours, sending hundreds of emails, accosting them on their way to/from home, sitting in their genkan, leaving threatening messages in their cars, etc. This is not just some person standing on the street a few nights in a row.

Then the real problem here isn't stalking and there's no need for tightening stalker laws. The problem is the inaction on existing harassment, trespassing, vandalism and other charges.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

So basically, if someone accuses you of stalking them just because they saw you at the same station two days in a row, the police will immediately show up at your house, seize your cell phone and lap top and take you into custody, all without obtaining a warrant or bothering to confirm the facts.

After rotting in custody for the requisite 10 days the police might let you go, without an apology and then they'll tell you to avoid using the same station as your accuser lest they feel uncomfortable seeing you.

This will happen to innocent people

The checks and balances are there for a reason. Cops need to be careful, prudent and respect the fact that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. No exceptions.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Then the real problem here isn't stalking and there's no need for tightening stalker laws. The problem is the inaction on existing harassment, trespassing, vandalism and other charges.

Exactly. Why the police need to 'look into toughening' existing laws is questionable. They should seriously enforce the laws already on the books. Like Nicki said: they need to take complaints about stalking seriously.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Every time I hear about Stalking, the song , "Every breath you take", by The Police, pops up in my mind.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The stalkees just have to grin and bear it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I lost my trust in J-cops a very long time ago.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nothing wrong with the present law. It's not the law but the lazy, incompetent police who are sitting on fence instead of taking the stalking reports and appeals for help seriously in due time and swinging into action.

If they blame the law it means they only want their hand freed for more arbitrarily taken actions according to their own choice and abuse people of their own choices.

If they don't take the complaints and the asks for help seriously today, when they already have all the means to make thing better and safer, what would guarantee they will use the new law properly?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

In a statement, Katagiri said, “We are in danger of losing the confidence and trust of the public.

Whenever I see something like this coming from a cop I always am reminded of the Police Academy movies and Lasard!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

They want us to take action to prevent these crimes taking place.” Imagine that, crime prevention! Now when they figure that out, perhaps they could look into driving safety, biking safety... Prevention rather than reaction would be nice for a change.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Every time I hear about Stalking, the song , "Every breath you take", by The Police, pops up in my mind.

I've got a better one for you: "Two Steps Behind" by Def Leppard...

(wherever you go) I'll be two steps behind you (whatever you do) And I'll be there to remind you That it only takes a minute of your precious time to turn around. I'll be two steps behind.
2 ( +2 / -0 )

I find it interesting that the police are "looking into tightening existing laws". That's normally a function of the legislature. I know JT hates comparisons with other countries, but I have to compare this to other countries where the legislature writes/changes the laws, the judicial branch interprets the laws, and the police only enforce the laws.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If they increased the police force and budget by ten fold, then they might have a decent chance of handling stalking reports in a way to prevent stalking enough to satisfy everyone.

Just changing the laws or the internal methods of handling stalking reports is not going to do much. And the only way really make a dent in stalking without creating a police state would be to build a time-machine, a mind reading device or have a team of pre-cogs on hand.

Most stalkers are psychologically annoying, but in the end, physcially harmless. There is just no effective means of determining the 1 percent that will crack to the point of assault or worse. And its not like the police don't have other things to do besides determine what cases fit that small percentage.

In fact, I think the best thing to do would probably be to just change the average policeman's routine. I suspect if they were no longer out there harrassing bicyclists for ID, and instead used that time on stalking cases, that the public would be have more statisfaction in this area.

But my advice to anyone being stalked is to alert friends and family for helpe and maybe even hire a PI and/or bodyguard. The police really don't have the manpower to protect anyone so specifically targeted.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I can't see anything of substance in this story.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I have my own way of dealing with stalkers, very efficient and police free. Sad for the women. But stalkers are not supposed to become criminals. Don' t mix words meanings.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have my own way of dealing with stalkers, very efficient and police free. Sad for the women. But stalkers are not supposed to become criminals. Don' t mix words meanings.

Stalking IS a crime if you've been told to stop doing it by the courts. The usual definition of a stalker is someone who keeps following/hanging around someone after they've been told to stop. The OTHER definition is someone who follows someone with criminal intent. In either case, it IS a crime. No mixed meanings there at all.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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