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18 April 2013, 06:00
One of the top police officers in Greater Manchester is calling on high profile figures in the media not to make fun of stalking, five months after it was made a criminal offence.
Garry Shewan's comments come ahead of National Stalking Awareness Day on Thursday.
The Assistant Chief Constable says for anyone who's been a victim its no laughing matter.
"Stalking has sometimes been used by comedians as a light-hearted topic," the officer told Capital, "but its not."
Shewan, who's the lead on stalking for the Association of Chief Police Offices, believes jokes about it can be damaging:
"Things like - I wish I had that much attention, or wouldn't it be nice to have a stalker.
"But we wouldn't joke about rape, we wouldn't joke about murder.
"Unfortunately the psychological, emotional and physical consequences can be just as serious."
The ACC's been speaking to Capital as figures show 2,000 victims of stalking have contacted the National Stalking Helpline in the last year.
From last November two new stalking offences were created - stalking and stalking that causes serious distress or fear of violence.
The latter has a maximum sentence of five years in prison.