Grenfell Tower: Reasonable grounds for charges, police say

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Grenfell TowerImage copyright PA

There are grounds for corporate manslaughter charges over the Grenfell Tower fire that killed at least 80 people, police have said.

Kensington and Chelsea council and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation have both been told there are grounds for considering charges against them.

This has come to light in a letter from Metropolitan Police to Grenfell residents.

The tower block caught fire on 14 June.

The relevant section of the letter says Met Police officers have “seized a huge amount of material and taken a large number of witness statements”.

“After an initial assessment of that information, the officer leading the investigation has today notified the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenancy Management Organisation that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that each organisation may have committed the offence of corporate manslaughter under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007,” it added.

Evidence gathering

The Met Police also released a statement on Thursday, stating that its investigation into the cause and spread of the fire was a “complex and far reaching investigation that by its very nature will take a considerable time to complete”.

“The Met has made a commitment to the families who lost loved ones in the fire and survivors that they will be kept updated, as far as we possibly can, as the investigation continues.”

BBC home affairs correspondent Tom Symonds says Met Police have briefed a number of times that corporate manslaughter is a possible offence being considered as part of their investigation, along with breaches of health and safety laws.

In the case of corporate manslaughter, this is an offence which can only be committed by a corporation – not an individual, therefore no-one can be arrested in this instance.

The effect of what the police have said is to put both organisations on notice that their senior executives are likely to be questioned under caution in relation to the fire. This means that evidence can be used against both bodies in a court, our correspondent added.

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