Ex-detective calls for Derbyshire’s Chief Constable to be dismissed after Gracie Spinks’ tragedy

A retired Derbyshire police detective has called for the county's Chief Constable to be dismissed – following the death of Chesterfield’s Gracie Spinks.

Monday, 25th October 2021, 3:26 pm
Updated Monday, 25th October 2021, 3:55 pm

Gracie, 23, was found fatally injured in Duckmanton on June 18. It is understood she was killed by 35-year-old Sheffield man Michael Sellers, whose body was also discovered that day.

Gracie's parents said she reported Sellers to police in February after she saw him waiting for her in a car at the gates of the stables where she tended to beloved horse Paddy every morning before work.

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Chesterfield's Gracie Spinks, left, and Rachel Swann, Chief Constable of Derbyshire Constabulary.

Days after Gracie's death, officers revealed a member of the public found a bag containing weapons in Duckmanton in May and handed it in to police.

The Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) is currently investigating Derbyshire Constabulary following Gracie's death.

Roger Bowler worked as a detective with the force before retiring in 1998.

The 70-year-old, of Clay Cross, has called for Chief Constable Rachel Swann to 'go now' in light of Gracie's killing.

He told of his ‘disgust’ at the ‘no-show investigation’ after Gracie reportedly complained about Sellers to officers – and raised concerns about an apparent lack of police action over the bag of weapons.

“The police had a duty of care to this young lady – but it’s plain to see they have let her down,” Roger told the Derbyshire Times.

“This is shocking to say the least.

“The current Chief Constable is at the top of the tree and should bear responsibility for a shocking list of errors.

“She should be dismissed from her job.

“She must go – and go now.”

Roger, who joined the force in 1972, added: “I am totally depressed at the state of policing today.

“Derbyshire Constabulary is a disgrace.”

In response, a Derbyshire Constabulary spokesperson said: “We are continuing to liaise with the coroner over the deaths of Gracie Spinks and Michael Sellers and the case remains with the IOPC.

“For this reason, we are unable to comment further while these investigations continue.”

‘Get it right first time’

Earlier this year, Ms Swann admitted officers had ‘let down’ Derbyshire murder victims and their families.

In a video message to staff, she said ‘simple errors are being made’ and that in some cases ‘we are not doing what we should’.

Ms Swann – who became the top boss of Derbyshire Constabulary last year – said the force was not performing well with ‘dealing with vulnerability’ and it was ‘not acceptable’.

She called for ‘drastic changes’ in how the organisation operates, adding: “Get it right first time.

“Because in the cases of those we have let down, they don't get any second chances.”

Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) have the power to dismiss Chief Constables.

Derbyshire's PCC, Angelique Foster, previously told the Derbyshire Times: “The police’s role is to keep people safe and protect them from harm.

“This is the most important part of the job – it is what people expect and deserve.

“The Chief Constable has been very clear that she feels the force must make improvements in relation to the way in which it protects those most at risk.

“I strongly support that view – and I will keep a very close watch on progress made against the force’s improvement plans.”

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