Grenfell victims must wait until end of 2026 for decision on criminal charges

Thursday, May 23, 2024

LONDON: Police will need until the end of 2025 to finalise their investigation into the Grenfell fire, with final decisions on potential criminal charges by the end of 2026.

Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Cundy told journalists that investigators will need another year to 18 months after the publication of the report from the second part of the public inquiry into the blaze, due to be released later this year.

Rosemary Ainslie, from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said prosecutors would then need until the end of 2026 to make final decisions about any criminal charges.The mammoth police investigation into the fire, which killed 72 people in 2017, has already generated 27,000 lines of inquiry and more than 12,000 witness statements.

A total of 19 companies and organisations are under investigation for potential criminal offences, and 58 individuals, and more than 300 hours of interviews have taken place.Potential offences under consideration include corporate manslaughter, gross negligence manslaughter, perverting the course of justice, misconduct in public office, health and safety offences, fraud, and offences under the fire safety and building regulations.

So far eight out of 20 files have been sent to the CPS for early investigative advice that would be passed back to police, with a typical case file more than 500 pages long with 17,000 pages of evidence.

The current timeline would mean it would be nearly 10 years before anyone could appear in court over the Grenfell Tower blaze.Up to the end of March this year, the Met has spent £107.3 million on the inquiry, and there are 180 investigators currently working on the case.Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Cundy said the publication of the report will be a landmark moment for the police and those directly affected by the fire.