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Grenfell fire investigation far from over, Met reveals five years' on

The investigation into the fatal fire at Grenfell Tower hasn’t stopped despite the public inquiry and COVID-19, the Met has revealed.

More interviews of people linked to the Grenfell Tower fire will take place, the Metropolitan Police has revealed on the five-year anniversary.

The force remains “absolutely focused” on the criminal investigation into the fire which killed 72 people and injured dozens more.

The officer who has lead the investigation from the start, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Cundy, said search for answers was continuing “at pace”.

He said: “None of us can pretend to understand what it is like for those so deeply affected by the fire. They have my commitment that the Met remains absolutely focused on the criminal investigation, which is one of the largest and most complex investigations ever undertaken by the Met.”

It is a unique investigation – which began before the fire was even out - because it has continued alongside a public inquiry and the review into building regulations and fire safety, led by Dame Judith Hackitt.

The inquiry’s initial report praised the officers who attended on the night and helped evacuate residents from the burning building.

The Met’s latest update revealed offences under consideration include corporate manslaughter, gross negligence manslaughter, fraud and health and safety offences. 

There are still 180 dedicated investigators working with international experts and more than 9,000 witness statements have been taken.

AI has enabled the reading of 130 million documents recovered from companies and organisations who are linked to the tower, including its management.

DAC Cundy said: “Our investigation continues at pace. Forty people have been interviewed under caution, many multiple times and more interviews under caution will take place.”

Blue Light responders, including Fire Brigade Union leader Matt Wrack, also want answers for the families.

He said: “They have faced a wait for criminal charges that continues to this day. They inspire us all with their relentless fight for justice and we continue to stand in solidarity with them every step of the way.”

DAC Cundy said: “I recognise the frustrations of some about the significant length of this complex criminal investigation. We are in an unusual situation where our police investigation and the public inquiry are being conducted at the same time.

“The criminal investigation is independent of inquiry but, as we have said previously, the criminal investigation must take into account any findings or reports produced by the inquiry. Once we have fully examined the findings of the Phase 2 report we will present our evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service so they can consider charging decisions.”

A further complication is that London Mayor Sadiq Khan has the dual responsibility of improving housing safety in the capital and supporting the Met’s investigation into the tragedy.

He said that progress had been made but accepted the frustrations of Grenfell residents who have not received justice.

He said: “No one has yet been held truly accountable for the combustible cladding that turned Grenfell into a death trap. That means justice is far from being done, while at the same time the far-reaching change that is so urgently needed to avoid a similar disaster is not happening fast enough.”

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