Derbyshire force comments over removal of banner saying Chesterfield’s Gracie Spinks ‘let down by police’
A banner which stated Chesterfield’s Gracie Spinks was ‘let down by Derbyshire police’ was removed on the day of her funeral ‘out of respect for the family’, the force has said.
The banner – which also said ‘shame on you!’ – was draped on the footbridge above the A617 heading into Chesterfield town centre.
A member of the public contacted the Derbyshire Times to voice anger about the removal of the banner.
A spokesperson for Derbyshire Constabulary said: “The banner was removed on the day of Gracie’s funeral out of respect for the family.”
The Derbyshire Times asked if it was removed at the family’s request.
The force spokesperson responded: “I do not believe so, no.
“It was felt to be inappropriate to have it there visible to family members travelling on the day of the funeral.”
Ms Spinks, 23, was laid to rest on July 23.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is investigating contact between Derbyshire Constabulary and Ms Spinks before she passed away.
The watchdog received a referral from the force because police had contact with her in the months before her death on June 18.
An IOPC spokesperson said last month: “We understand Ms Spinks made contact with Derbyshire police in February to make an allegation of stalking and that officers spoke to her and the man whose behaviour she had reported.
“Our investigation will consider whether the police investigation into the matter was carried out in line with all relevant policies and guidance, as well as whether the force met all its safeguarding obligations to Ms Spinks.
“We will also look into the actions and decision-making of police following the discovery of bag containing weapons by a member of the public in May this year. It was found close to where Ms Spinks died several weeks later. The discovery was reported to the force.”
IOPC regional director, Derrick Campbell, said: “This was a heartbreaking incident where a young woman has lost her life and our thoughts are with all those affected.
“We recognise the impact this has had on the local community, which is why it is so important for us to carry out our investigation, which is independent of the police.”