DEVON and Cornwall Police have released a video raising awareness of the signs of stalking this Valentine's Day.

The video highlights some of the ways films or TV shows can promote or normalise behaviours akin to stalking, using the tagline ‘Life isn't like the movies’.

A spokesperson from Devon and Cornwall Police said: “Receiving a gift from an unknown person on Valentine’s Day may be a pleasant surprise. But if it’s been happening for a while and it’s accompanied by unwanted messages, or if it’s from someone who keeps showing up when you’ve told them to leave you alone, then it becomes upsetting. It’s stalking. And it could get worse. “Stalking is a pattern of unwanted, repeated behaviour that leaves you feeling anxious or distressed. You don’t have to be threatened with violence to be a victim of stalking. Any kind of persistent, unwanted contact that causes distress is still stalking and is unacceptable. But things like romantic comedies can normalise this sort of behaviour, and you may not recognise it as stalking.

“When certain behaviours are combined in a way that follows the for pattern - Fixated, Obsessed, Unwanted, Repeated - then its stalking and you should record what’s happened and report it before it escalates.”

Assistant chief constable, Steve Parker added: “This type of persistent behaviour is a common theme of romantic comedy films but can sometimes normalise the view that these actions are OK, and that being told “No!” actually means “try harder” in order in order to win someone’s affection.

“We hope that this video campaign will provide some recognisable examples of stalking behaviours so that the family or friends of someone who has an abusive ex-partner can recognise the signs at the earliest opportunity so that it can be reported to the police. Once we are informed, we can put measures in place to prevent things from escalating, and get the victim support.”

Find out more about stalking and harassment and how to report it to the police on the website:

Advice is also available from the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300 and help and support from the Paladin National Stalking Advocacy Service at

A spokesperson concluded: “We hope you have a safe, romantic Valentine’s Day but if you ever recognise the signs of stalking, report it, because life isn’t like the movies. If you or anyone else is in immediate danger, call 999.”