Police conducting ‘meticulous investigation’ into Grenfell

11 Dec 17

Police have mounted an investigation in the Grenfell Tower fire disaster on a scale matched only by counter-terrorism operations.

That is what Jeremy Johnson, counsel for the Metropolitan Police, told the public inquiry into the fire at its first hearing today. 

Inquiry chair, retired judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick, heard police were conducting a “meticulous thorough and fearless investigation to identify all who may have committed criminal offences”, which would take at least until next autumn to complete.

Potential offences under investigation included manslaughter, corporate manslaughter, misconduct in public office and breaches of fire safety legislation but others were possible, Johnson said.

He said the probe was “outside of counter terrorism, unprecedented in scale and complexity”, with 187 police officers and civilian staff deployed.

There were more than 31m documents gathered, 2,500 exhibits seized and 2,332 witness statements taken, while 383 companies had been identified as having had some involvement in the tower’s construction and refurbishment.

Barrister Michael Mansfield, representing a group of survivors and people bereaved, urged Sir Martin to accept that a panel should sit with him, including representatives of the local community.

It would be impossible to command public confidence without this wider input, he said, noting that prime minister Theresa May had said last summer “for too long residents been overlooked and ignored”.

He urged Sir Martin to ask the prime minister to approve this step.

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