Celebrity stalking has become the way for the socially inept to; A. "normality" or B. stardom. They may have no friends, they may never have had a date or spouse, but when stalking someone perceived as significant to the public, the stalkers feel in control and may feel that they have a "normal" relationship.
No two cases are alike. Some will stalk from the shadows, never bothering their victim and subsequently they are seldom discovered. Others will write a dozen letters a day and mail gifts or other items to their victim, thereby inducing fear in the victim and the victim's surroundings. Celebrity stalking differs from other categories of stalking (i.e. former spouse stalking) because the perpetrator, conscious or subconscious, is seeking to elevate not only his self-esteem but also his social status by the victims fame.
No matter the type of stalker, it is a crime in most countries to follow and harass people and therefore the law will be called upon. As a personal protection specialist there are a few things to consider before contacting law enforcement officers.
1. Is your client interested in reporting the stalker to the police?
You may think that it is a natural thing to do but your client may have a different view. It could be that the stalker was once employed by your client and/or emotional issues precede the juridical ones. It may be that your client is afraid of worse persecution if the stalker walks free. Or as it so often happens; the company that your client are contractually engaged with, has their own agenda and will not risk bad publicity (At least not until they can use it in their promotional efforts). The palette of colorful excuses is too big for a single article, but hopefully you get the picture by now.
2. Do you have enough evidence?
Your client may be well known to the public. But is he/she famous or infamous? Either way you need strong solid evidence. This includes pictures or surveillance film taken when the stalker is trespassing, Witness reports and the witnesses willing to testify, letters and E-mails, voicemail etc. As much info gathered as possible. If your client is infamous, known to provoke people, the evidence should be so much stronger and a change of lifestyle may be needed in order to convince the public/a judge, that your client did not instigate the stalking.
3. How will you handle the press?
When a report is made by the police, the jackals of the press will do whatever they can to uncover the story in its full length. Some will, if the story is too thin (read: boring for their target group!), create an "angle". This can be a fictitious relationship between the stalker and victim or whatever. As long as the story sells. To avoid this you need to carefully consider what to tell the press. Do so BEFORE reporting to the police. Remember: telling too much will give the stalker what he wants, namely some degree of fame. Telling too little will most definitely animate the press to speculate and the tabloids to create stories. Both situations can become a nuisance and in worst case, hazardous. Normal procedure is that a press officer from the clients company or a production company makes a press release and handles the press. Hopefully that person will work in liaison with the client, security (you) and the legal department, before publicizing the release.
4. Do you have adequate security back-up?
Once the show is on, the police have been called upon, the press release publicized and the client advised to avoid any and all communication with the stalker, the pressure begins. Paparazzi, copy-cat stalkers, show hosts making jokes, people walking up to your client to show support or the opposite and security companies trying to sell their products are all a part of the game. It may only last a couple of weeks, but the workload rises significantly and you will need some sort of backup. A worn-out personal protection specialist is of use to no one. Hire someone experienced. It is worth the extra money and will make you sleep better at night, knowing that your "temp" is a seasoned pro, with no interest in glamour, bribe money and media coverage. Temporary use of a residential security team, if such a team does not already exist, should be considered as copy-cat stalkers could be tempted to trespass so that they can get arrested, with media coverage to follow.
Besides from all of the above mentioned, the general rules of stalking countermeasures apply, and you should as a minimum instruct your client to:
? Say no once and then avoid all communication with the stalker, unless a life or death situation occurs
? Vary routes and routines
? Do not discuss the matter in public, unless it serves a clear/legal purpose i.e. letting neighbors know, so that they can report suspicious actions to the police
? Seek refuge in police stations or places with armed security guards and video surveillance if followed by the stalker without a personal protection agent being present
? Confronted by the stalker; always run if possible and only fight in self defense if absolutely necessary
Though there is a lack of books on celebrity stalking, the Personal protection specialist should consider buying literature on the subject of stalking in general, not only to himself, but also to the client being stalked, as most victims will benefit greatly from reading about the illness it is. I suggest the following books: The gift of fear, by Gavin De Becker, The psychology of stalking, edited by J. Reid Meloy, How to stop a stalker, by Mike Proctor and Surviving a stalker, by Linden Gross. All four are great informational sources on stalking.
Celebrity stalking is actually quite rare. It is the media focusing on the few existing cases, which makes it "common" and makes the lives of the stalkers as well as the victims miserable. When dealing with stalking cases, even though it sometimes can be difficult to foster sympathy towards them, try to remember that the perpetrators are mentally ill. I don't mean to imply that it should cloud your judgment, when protecting your client. When a criminal gets in your way, you deal with it! ? But use reason before power.
Henrik Bramsborg is the managing director of Bramsborg Security & safety, a security company based in Denmark. Henrik is a stalking- and surveillance detection specialist and the author of several Danish books and materials on security. Latest is the "Simple Risk Assessment Model" for Personal Protection Specialists. Henrik is also an experienced instructor in personal protection, having trained NATO S-FOR forces, police officers, correctional facility officers and private bodyguards. He holds a management degree and is furthermore a certified motivation instructor.
Bramsborg Security & Safety, http://www.bramsborg.com, have been quoted and profiled in several Danish media as the "Danish stalking experts".