Please see below the full statement from the IOPC regarding their ongoing investigation.
Following the interim update into their investigation by the IOPC, Toby Perkins said:
“The IOPC are clearly taking this investigation very seriously and I am grateful for their update and confirmation of the actions taken so far. I met with the IOPC and discussed their protocols and the way that they would handle this investigation and discussed some of my concerns.
I would not want to pre-empt the outcome of the investigation whilst it is ongoing, but share the view of the family that there is significant cause for concern about the steps that could have been taken to keep Gracie safe and weren’t by Derbyshire Police.
The circumstances regarding the bag that was found close to where Gracie was murdered several weeks later are very troubling and the issuing of a gross misconduct to a sergeant and misconduct notices to two constables is testament to gravity of the concerns raised and the seriousness of the IOPC investigation into police failures.
I have had conversations with senior police officers regarding Gracie’s case and a number of other cases that have been brought to my attention regarding, the police response to allegations of stalking and harassment. I am assured that there have been measures taken to change the culture within the force, as well as practical steps taken to improve the investigation of these crimes.
I would still urge people to sign the petition for Gracie’s Law, which is calling for the Government to provide more funding for stalking advocates for victims of stalking. The petition currently has just over 81,000 signatures and if it reaches 100,000 will be debated in Parliament.
You can the petition at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/593769
You can also read my recent blog post on the action needed to stop violence against women & girls at https://www.tobyperkins.org.uk/2021/11/24/the-tragic-death-of-gracie-shows-we-have-got-to-act-now-to-end-violence-against-women-and-girls/”
IOPC full statement:
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has made good progress on our investigation into police contact with Gracie Spinks prior to her death in Duckmanton, Derbyshire earlier this year.
We are investigating the circumstances of contact between Ms Spinks, 23, and Derbyshire Constabulary in the months leading up to her death on 18 June 2021.
Ms Spinks had contacted the force in February this year to make an allegation of stalking, and officers spoke to her and the man whose behaviour she had reported.
Our investigation is considering whether the force carried out all its safeguarding obligations to Ms Spinks and whether its investigation into the stalking matter was carried out in accordance with relevant police guidelines and policies.
We are also looking into the actions and decision making of police following the discovery of a bag, containing a hammer, an axe and some knives, in May this year. The bag had been found close to where Ms Spinks died several weeks later, and its discovery was reported to the force.
Based on the evidence we have assessed to date; we have served a gross misconduct notice on a police sergeant and misconduct notices on two constables in relation to what steps were taken after the bag was found and reported on May 6 and collected by police. We have also served misconduct notices on a separate police sergeant and constable concerning how the investigation into the stalking and harassment allegation was handled.
IOPC Regional Director, Derrick Campbell said: “We have made good progress, but our investigation is ongoing and there is more work still to do. After consideration of evidence so far, we have reached a stage where we have now served disciplinary notices on five officers. The purpose of such notices is to advise officers their conduct is subject to investigation, and do not necessarily mean that disciplinary proceedings will follow. The serving of notices will be kept under review. We aren’t able to provide more detail at present, but we appreciate the impact Gracie’s death has had on the local community and beyond and the importance of keeping people updated with our investigation’s progress.
“We are keeping Gracie’s family informed and we note the work they have undertaken with others to campaign for Gracie’s Law to help better protect victims of stalking