Survivors of the Grenfell fire have expressed frustration at being left in ‘limbo’ after Scotland Yard admitted it did not expect criminal charges to be brought for at least two years
The campaign group Grenfell United said it was ‘extremely frustrating and disheartening’ that the Metropolitan Police would not hand a file to prosecutors until the end of the public inquiry into the fire, which happened on 14 June 2017, killing 72 people.
Its chair, Natasha Elcock, said: ‘We know the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower turned our homes into a death trap and we know that people, organisations and institutions that were meant to care for us didn’t and 72 people died.
‘And yet no one has been held accountable. On this timeline, Theresa May risks leaving office without a single trial starting. As bereaved families and survivors, we urgently need reassurances from government that justice and change will come.’
In a statement, Scotland Yard said it would be ’wrong’ to bring any charges before the final report of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.
The second phase of the inquiry, which will investigate the tower’s refurbishment, is unlikely to begin before the end of this year.
Detective superintendent Matt Bonner said: ‘I know this is longer than some might have anticipated, but the police must ensure all the available evidence is considered before any file is submitted to the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service].’
Elcock also expressed frustration at the lack of a timetable for the second phase of the inquiry, and on the slow progress in replacing combustible cladding on high-rise blocks in England.
‘It is now 21 months since the fire,’ she said. ‘Thousands of people are still living in homes with dangerous cladding, people in social housing are still being mistreated by landlords and Grenfell families still wait for any kind of justice.’
Chair of the Grenfell inquiry Martin Moore-Bick has said he hopes to complete his report on the first phase of the inquiry by spring.