Grenfell Tower criminal charge decision will not be reached until end of 2026

Messages left on a wall for the 72 people who lost their lives in the Grenfell Tower block
Credit: PA

Police will need until the end of 2025 to complete 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 said on Wednesday 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.

Prosecutors would then need until the end of 2026 to make final decisions about any criminal charges, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

The current timeline would mean it would be nearly 10 years before anyone could appear in court over the blaze. Bereaved and survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire described the near-decade long wait as "unbearable".

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. 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.

A total of 19 companies and organisations are under investigation for potential criminal offences, and 58 individuals.

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.

Grenfell Tower block. Credit: PA Images

PC Cundy said the publication of the report will be a landmark moment for the police and those directly affected by the fire.

“Seven years ago, we made a commitment to the bereaved and the survivors that we would follow the evidence wherever it would take us, we remain true to our word with that.

“We as the police have one chance to get this investigation done to the right standard, the right quality, and done the right way.

“We owe that to those who lost their lives, owe it to everybody who has been affected by the Grenfell Tower tragedy.”

The fire at the residential tower block in North Kensington, west London, in June 2017 killed 72 people and triggered a public inquiry, chaired by Sir Martin Moore-Bick.

Bereaved and survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire described the wait for accountability from those responsible for the disaster as “unbearable”.

Grenfell United, representing many of the bereaved families and survivors, said: “Ten years until we see justice. Ten years until we see prosecutions. Ten years until those responsible for the murders of 72 people are held to account for their crimes.

“This should be shocking for everyone, but for us, we live our lives on hold while those responsible walk free.

“Seven years and we are still waiting for the Phase 2 Public Inquiry report. We are still waiting to hear the truth. To know who was responsible for taking our families and loved ones away from us.

“We need to see the people who perpetrated Grenfell held to account and charged for their crimes. The wait is unbearable”.

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