Follow Metropolitan Police

LATEST: Grenfell Tower fire investigation

News   •   Sep 19, 2017 15:38 BST

Latest update, Tuesday, 19 September:

Officers from the Grenfell Tower investigation team and the Coroner met the families of those who died or are missing and sadly presumed dead last night in a private meeting to update them.

The families were updated on the progress of the search and recovery operation, the identification process, the coronial process and the police investigation as well as being given the opportunity to ask questions. The survivors are also being updated.

A total of 60 people who died in the fire have now been formerly identified plus baby Logan who was stillborn afterwards. The number of people who are believed to have died remains at about 80. The final figure will not be known until the end of the search, recovery and identification processes, but officers believe the final figure may not be as high as 80.

Everyone identified to date is a person officers sadly anticipated to find within Grenfell Tower and their families are all being supported by trained family liaison officers. It is expected the search and recovery operation will be complete by about the end of the year. Following structural work inside the tower, from this week the Met has been able to double the number of search teams to help finish the search as soon as possible. So far a fingertip search has been completed in around half the flats, with those prioritised where it is believed people died. About 15.5 tonnes of material is being searched through on every floor.

The police investigation continues, uniquely at the same time as a public inquiry, with which the MPS is co-operating.

Detective Chief Superintendant Fiona McCormack said: "The investigation into what happened at Grenfell Tower is a priority for the Met and we are determined to find the answers that so many desperately seek. The distress and suffering caused to so many families and loved ones that night is harrowing. That night people lost their homes, all their possessions and tragically their families and loved ones.

"Outside of counter-terrorism investigations, this is the biggest investigation the MPS is undertaking and the scale is huge. Last night we were keen to help the families understand that this is massive investigation and it will take a long time. But we only get one chance to investigate and it is important things are done properly.

"We hope by the end of the year our search teams will have finished their work inside the tower and the formal identifications will be complete. We are committed to finding, recovering and identifying everyone who died as quickly as we can.

"We do now think the final figure of those who died may not be as high as 80 but we don’t know exactly at this stage. We have analysed the thousands of calls received after the fire to confirm and eliminate missing people as well as looking at CCTV from the foyer who shows us clearly some 240 people who escaped the fire. Some of those missing person reports were mistaken and a small number were fraudulent. The process is ongoing but we now have a better idea of figures. However, we still don't know if there was someone inside Grenfell Tower who died who was not reported missing, and we won't know until the searches are complete."

Around 200 officers, drawn from across the Met, are working full-time on the Grenfell Tower investigation in a variety of roles including family liaison, search teams, statement-takers and exhibits officers.

The investigation is focussing on the construction, refurbishment and management of Grenfell Tower as well as the emergency services’ response. The types of offences that may be discovered could range from fraud, misconduct, health and safety breaches, breaches of fire safety regulations or manslaughter on a corporate and/or an individual level.

So far the investigation has identified 2,400 different people to speak to, including residents, firefighters, police officers and other witnesses. More than 1,000 statements have been taken.

A total of 670 firefighters that were involved in the rescue effort have been identified, 340 police officers and a similar number of ambulance staff. They will all have statements taken. From those police officers, 340 Body Worn Video clips have been downloaded and they have all been viewed.

More than 2,500 exhibits have been seized so far, many from within the tower.

Officers previously said they had identified 60 companies that had been involved in the construction, refurbishment or management of Grenfell. That number has now grown to 336 different organisations. Each is being contacted to establish exactly what their role was.

Where their role is considered relevant, digital downloads of all business records are being recovered. So far, in excess of 31 million documents have been recovered and it is anticipated that number will increase. Specialist software will be used to enable officers to process and search those millions of documents in order to find any relevant material that may be used evidentially at a later stage.

The forensic examination of the tower is ongoing and will continue into the New Year. This includes photographing and documenting every room on every floor, paying particular attention to fire safety provisions such as fire doors, the standards of construction work, the routing of pipework and smoke extraction systems. After that, there will be a series of further forensic tests including reconstructions. Only after that work is compete will officers be in a position to fully understand what happened, what went wrong and what questions need to be answered.

In addition to this work, eight fraud investigations are ongoing, where people have tried to financially benefit from the fire. Two people have been charged, one person arrested and bailed and enquiries continue in the other investigations.
The MPS received a report on Friday, 8 September that a sum of money appeared to have been stolen from one of the flats within Grenfell Tower, taken at some point after Tuesday, 20 June.

An investigation into the theft is now being carried out. Survivors of Grenfell Tower and the families of those who died or are missing and presumed dead have been updated by the Met.

Officers have had reports within the last ten days of other possible thefts of property and money from another three flats. Enquiries continue and the police investigation will establish whether such property may have already been moved into storage by a specialist company employed by the local authority. The allegations were made after occupants of flats on the floors not damaged by fire were allowed to return to their properties to recover personal items and discovered the missing property.

Det Ch Supt McCormack said: "I can't tell you how personally devastating these reports of thefts are, for the victims, for me and everyone involved in the investigation who is working so hard. We have one confirmed theft and are looking at three more allegations and we will thoroughly investigate. We do not yet know how this has happened.

"We have 24-hr security at Grenfell Tower but this has been reviewed and some changes immediately put into place."

Latest update, Wednesday, 12 July:

Commander Stuart Cundy, who is overseeing the Met police operation following the fire at Grenfell Tower, said:

“As we all reflect upon what happened my thoughts, and those of all of us in the Met, are with those who lost their loved ones, their homes and a community that is in mourning.

“Four weeks ago a terrible tragedy unfolded within Grenfell Tower. The human cost of that tragedy is something we are all still trying to fully comprehend.

“For many people the events of that night will remain with them forever.

“Each and every one of us involved from the Met is determined to do all we can to return those who died to their families as soon as we can. Today, we remember all those who have been so deeply affected.”


Latest update, Wednesday, 5 July:

Around 250 specialist investigators are continuing their tireless work as part of the Met Police operation following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower on Wednesday, 14 June.

Last night, families and loved ones of those who died in the fire and those who are missing and presumed dead met with key members of the Met's team and the Senior Coroner, Dr Fiona Wilcox.

This meeting was to provide updates and answer any questions on all the areas of the Met's operation, including the search and recovery operation inside Grenfell Tower, the process of formally identifying those who have died and the investigation into how and why the fire started.

Commander Stuart Cundy, who is overseeing the Met's response to the fire at Grenfell Tower, said:

"At the very heart of our investigation, and all our work, are those who died in the fire and our efforts to support those who have been bereaved. It is vitally important that families and loved ones are engaged and know what we are doing and why. We will continue to involve families throughout the investigation.

"I completely understand their desire for answers and we are committed to providing as much information we can, as soon as we can.

"Now I can update on the progress of our search and recovery operation inside Grenfell Tower, which we estimate will not be complete until the end of 2017. On Monday, we forensically recovered the last of the visible human remains from Grenfell Tower and transferred them to Westminster Mortuary. In total we have made 87 recoveries, but I must stress that the catastrophic damage inside Grenfell Tower means that is not 87 people. Until formal identification has been completed to the Coroner's satisfaction I cannot say how many people have now been recovered.

"A total of 21 people who died have been formally identified by the Coroner and their families informed. Work continues using all available techniques, supported by experts and specialists, to identify all those whose remains we have recovered.

"Work in Grenfell Tower continues, seven days a week. Specialist officers, supported by expert anthropologists, have started a search by hand of the devastation left behind by the fire. This will involve us meticulously going through about 15.5 tonnes of debris on each floor to find those human remains that are still within the debris inside Grenfell Tower.

"We will use all the information we have, especially what we have been told by survivors and families, to prioritise our search where we believe we may find more human remains. This will take us many months, but we will search each and every flat.

"We are absolutely determined to do all we can as quickly as we can to return all those who are in Grenfell Tower to their loved ones. However, as I've said before such is the devastation caused by the fire it may be that tragically we cannot find or identify all those who lost their lives."

Detectives are continuing to appeal for information about who was in Grenfell Tower on the night of the fire, who escaped and survived and those people who have been missing since the night.

Commander Cundy, added:

"I do not want there to be any hidden victims of this tragedy. We continue our work to build as full a picture as possible of who was inside Grenfell Tower on the night and importantly, those who lost their lives. I completely understand the desire for clarity.

"We have spoken to at least one person who lived in 106 of the 129 flats within Grenfell Tower and based on what those people have told us we know that 18 people from those flats are dead or missing and sadly, must be presumed dead.

"Tragically, there are still 23 flats where despite our investigative efforts we have been unable to trace or speak to anyone who was in those properties on the night. We assume that sadly no one from any of those flats survived. Until our search operation is complete, I cannot say with any certainty how many people may have been in those flats, as occupiers or visitors, that night.

"If you know of someone who was in Grenfell Tower that night, either living there or visiting, and you know that they are missing please let us know. I do not care why you haven't told us sooner, what is important is that we get all the information we can to identify those who died."

The investigation, one of the largest and most complex in the Met's history, continues into how and why the fire started. Detectives are appealing to those people who lived in Grenfell Tower and may have images of the building's fire safety features from before the fire to provide them to police.

Call the incident room free phone number on 0800 032 4539, email Grenfell.investigation@met.police.uk or upload any material via www.ukpoliceimageappeal.co.uk


+++


Latest from Wednesday, 28 June:

Updated briefing by temporary Detective Chief Superintendent Fiona McCormack:

"I'm leading our investigation into the Grenfell Tower fire, my background is homicide and counter terrorism investigations and this investigation will require similar skills and expertise.

"I understand that there is huge concern, speculation and rumour about the number of people who lost their lives in the fire at Grenfell Tower.

"We are now two weeks into our investigation and I think it's important to update you all on what we know and importantly what we are working on to establish.

"And I would stress I share the concern about the number of missing people.

"I must stress that we do not yet have the final picture and that work will take some time.

"It is important that whilst I'm talking about numbers as I speak to you - what I mean and what we are talking about is 'people' - the victims of the fire.

"We are many months from being able to provide a number that we believe accurately represents the total loss of life inside Grenfell Tower.

"Only after we have completed the search and recovery operation - which will take until the end of the year - and then months afterwards, when experts have carried out the identification process, will we be in a position to tell you who has died.

"What I can say is that we still believe around 80 people to be either dead or sadly missing and I must presume that they are dead.

"There are people who I believe can still help my investigation to better establish a clearer picture.

"Today, what I can tell you is:

"On the first day of our work we were provided with a list by the tenant management organisation of who they had recorded as living in Grenfell Tower.

"We quickly identified - by the end of that day - that the list was not accurate.

"We have focused our efforts on every possible source of information, including all relevant authority records to understand who lived in Grenfell Tower at the time of the fire.

"But what we all know is that it would have been impossible for anyone to produce a list before that showed exactly who was in Grenfell Tower that night - that includes those people living there but also those visiting.

"What I can tell you is there are 129 flats inside Grenfell Tower. We, the police, have spoken to at least one occupant of 106 of those 129 flats.

"These people have been able to tell us not just who lived in those flats, but importantly who was in those flats on the night - so including those who were visiting.

"We have also been able to understand from the people that we have spoken to about who their friends and neighbours were and where they lived within Grenfell Tower.

"From what we have been told so far, we know that from those 106 flats, 18 people are dead or missing, presumed dead.

"Of course I must consider the possibility that there are others who we have not yet been told about.

"That means though - and it is a terrible reality - that there are 23 flats where despite huge investigative efforts, we have been unable to trace anyone alive who lived there.

"So - at this stage - we must presume that no one in those 23 flats survived - that would include those who lived there or any anyone who was visiting them.

"We are in contact with some next of kin and some friends - I cannot say today with any certainty the total number of people who were in those 23 flats on the night.

"The 23 flats are spread from the 11th floor to the 23rd floor.

"We have listened to 26, 999 calls to the London Fire Brigade from people who said they were inside one of those 23 flats.

"We are focusing with an absolute priority on reviewing all the information we have, from many, many sources, about who lived or who was visiting those 23 flats.

"And by that I mean all imaginable sources from government agencies to fast food delivery companies.

"We have been in touch with local schools and nurseries to understand if there are children who have not attended since the fire.

"Our work has also identified people who we presumed were dead that we have traced safe and well - for example a couple who have been out of the country on holiday.

"But as our work continues we are also indentifying people who are missing and we are being told may have been in Grenfell Tower that night.

"I want to be absolutely clear - I reiterate what I have said before - I do not want there to be any hidden victims of this tragedy.

"And today I am asking for people to help us.

"We know that there is a huge amount of work being carried out by local community action groups to understand who escaped and survived the fire and who may still be missing.

"If there are groups with information such as this, please give it to us - our aim is the same. We want to understand the true human cost of this tragedy.

"But very importantly we want to do all we can to recover whoever remains inside Grenfell Tower, identify them and return them to their loved ones.

"We also want to support their families through the very worst of times.

"If you do know of someone who was living in or visiting Grenfell Tower on the night of the fire but have concerns about speaking to police, please do not worry.

"Tell us what you know - we are not interested in your reasons for not speaking to us sooner. We are not interested in sub-letting or immigration issues - we need any information that you may have. Please call us on 0800 032 4539.

"Our search and recovery operation is continuing and as I have said that work is likely to be ongoing until the end of the year.

"We have done a full visual search of the building and have been in every flat on every floor.

"Our search continues to make sure that we recover all of those who died in the fire - it will be a painstaking fingertip search.

"Sadly, due to the devastation caused by the fire there are a very small number of flats that it aren't safe for us to work inside - experts are doing all they can to solve that for us.

"We are working very hard to identify everyone who died in the fire but the tragic reality is that due to the intense heat of the fire there are some people who we may never indentify.

"I was inside Grenfell Tower yesterday and saw the utter devastation inside the flats - I cannot stress the challenges facing the search and recovery teams.

"They told me of their determination to do their work with as much dignity and sensitivity as possible.

"We are drawing on expert advice from a range of international specialists such as anthropologists and odontologists - the work to identify people will be ongoing for many months to come.

But tragically we are preparing families and loved ones for the fact we may never recover the remains of their loved ones.

"At the heart of our investigation we are seeking to establish what happened to each and every person who lost their life - each and every personal story is deeply distressing. This is what my 250 detectives are working so hard on.

"But we must also investigate and establish why this happened. We are investigating this as we would any major crime investigation.

"We will identify and investigate any criminal offence and, of course, given the deaths of so many people we are considering manslaughter, as well as criminal offences and breaches of legislation and regulations.

"We have had over 45 calls to our incident room number since last Friday - those calls are about people safe and well, missing or people giving us information. I am grateful to those people and hope that it continues.

"Specialist experts - BRE - are working on a flat by flat assessment of every safety feature so we can provide individual accounts to families, the public inquiry and my investigation. This is so we can be clear on the state of each flat and any specific fire safety features as well as every part of the building.

"We are continuing to seize material on a daily basis and the number of companies and organisations that we know so far to have played a role in the refurbishment alone is over 60.

"We are continuing to take statements from the survivors of Grenfell Tower and, as I have said, we have previously listened to each and every one of the 600 plus 999 calls made to the emergency services that night

"It is a priority for the Met Police. Our investigation will be exhaustive - it must provide the answers that so many people are seeking and so desperately deserve."


+++


Latest update - Friday, 23 June:

Speaking at New Scotland Yard at circa 10:00hrs on Friday, 23 June, Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack who is overseeing the investigation into the fire at Grenfell Tower said:

"We are now over a week into our investigation following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower.

"I can confirm that as we continue to work to clarify the numbers of people missing and presumed dead, the number has not risen since the start of the week.

"However, I do expect the number to change for a number of reasons that we have already explained.

"The number of people who have been confirmed as dead, and formally identified is now nine.

"I know that there has been concern and fear that those figures are a lot higher.

"We want to identify all those who died as result of the fire at Grenfell Tower and that is where I need the public's help.

"I do not want there to be any hidden victims of this tragedy.

"We have been able to focus our efforts all through last weekend and this week to get much greater clarity on those who sadly died and those are still missing who I must now presume are dead.

"That work has been focused on those people we have been told about - those people who were in Grenfell Tower that night or, who we have been told, have connections to Grenfell Tower.

"I remain really concerned though that we do not have a complete picture.

"There may well be people who no one has contacted us about - who they know were in the building or have close links to Grenfell Tower.

"Through our family liaison officers and local community networks we have been making clear that our priority is to understand who was in Grenfell Tower.

"We are not interested in people's reasons for not telling us sooner and as the Mayor has already said people should be not be nervous about contacting us.

"The Home Office has assured us that they are not interested in people's immigration status and we are not interested in looking at that.

"What we are interested in is that making sure we know who is missing and we take every possible step to establish if they are safe and well.

"We will do all we can to help people through the coming weeks and months.

"If you are concerned about someone please, I urge you, call our investigation team on our free phone incident room number 0800 032 4539.

"The Met has drawn together a huge team in response to this incident and since the weekend around 250 specialist investigators have been working hard on all aspects of this investigation and our response.

"We now have expert evidence that the fire was not started deliberately - the fire started in a fridge freezer - the make and model is a Hotpoint FF175BP.

"We are working with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy who are talking to the manufacturer of the fridge freezer.

"But we do know that that this model has not been subject to any product recall.

"Further testing on the fridge freezer is being carried out by the manufacturer.

"Our investigation is seeking to establish how the fire started and the speed that it spread as it took hold of the building.

"We have been told the speed it spread at was unexpected, so importantly we will establish why this happened.

"This investigation will be exhaustive and, as we learn more, the scope and scale may well grow.

"We will examine the construction of the building including the refurbishment.

"Whilst of course we are examining, with experts, the aluminium panelling we are also looking at the entire exterior of the building.

"What that means is the aluminium composite tiles, the insulation behind it, how the tiles were fixed to the building as well as how it was installed.

"Our tests will look at each aspect individually as well as how they how all worked together as part of the building's cladding.

"Preliminary tests show the insulation samples collected from Grenfell Tower combusted soon after the test started.

"The initial tests on equivalent aluminium composite tiles failed the safety tests.

"Such are the safety concerns with the outcome of these tests we have immediately shared the data with the Department for Communities and Local Government who are already sharing that information with local councils throughout the country.

"The shocking images from that night clearly show just how quickly and ferociously the fire spread across the external surface of the building.

"As an absolute priority - and I completely understand the high public concern about safety - we will share any concerns about public safety with the relevant agencies.

"We will identify and investigate any criminal offence and, of course, given the deaths of so many people we are considering manslaughter, as well as criminal offences and breaches of legislation and regulations.

"We will seek to understand what happened to each and every person who died in that fire.

"Today I am appealing to those people for whom Grenfell Tower was their home or to anyone who has previously lived there.

"If you have previously reported concerns or safety issues about the building then please get in touch with us - we want to hear from you and what you reported.

"Importantly, if you did have concerns but did not, for whatever reason, raise them before please tell us now.

"The Crown Prosecution Service is advising the police investigation and their expertise will be used at every stage of our investigation.

"So far we have seized CCTV and received over 70 images and moving footage following our appeal - thank you - if there are people who still have images please let us know.

"We have also listened to over 600 emergency 999 calls made to the fire brigade, ambulance service and police to understand the events of that night.

"Some of those calls are over an hour long and each call tells its own distressing story.

"We have started to take statements from those who were within Grenfell Tower that night and that work will continue.

"In terms of seizing relevant material from a number of organisations - I can confirm that that work is already underway.

"I want to be as transparent as I can but I must protect the integrity of the investigation because, if we find that there are individuals or organisations that have committed offences, we must be able to prosecute without prejudice to any proceedings.

"I will not speculate on our investigation and would urge others not to.

"Our search of Grenfell Tower to recover all those inside and return them to their loved ones continues.

"Specially trained disaster victim identification teams, supported by our new urban search and rescue trained dog teams, continue their work.

"The working conditions are difficult and distressing for those teams - I have spoken to them personally and understand their commitment to returning those inside the Grenfell Tower back to their families and loved ones.

"However, we have been through Grenfell Tower from top to bottom - a full visual search was completed last week.

"The painstaking search continues - we will use a number of different searching techniques - including a full fingertip search in the areas of the building where we need to.

"Next week we will be installing a lift to the outside of the building to assist the recovery process.

"Such is the devastation inside, our forensic search and recovery may not be complete by the end of the year.

"There is a terrible reality that we may not find or indentify all those who died due to the intense heat of the fire.

"But we will do absolutely everything we can with utmost sensitivity and dignity.

"Given the catastrophic damage caused to the building we have to do work to ensure the building is safe for all agencies to work in.

"It is impossible to learn about what happened that night without feeling the true tragedy and the human cost of this terrible, terrible incident

"What we are determined to do is fully and impartially go where the evidence takes us.

"We want to provide the best possible answers for all those who have been so deeply affected by this tragedy."


+++


Latest update at 08:30hrs on Wednesday, 21 June:

Commander Stuart Cundy, said:

"One week ago Grenfell Tower was devastated by a fire. Today, is a day to reflect and remember all those who have been affected by the disastrous fire; those who have died, those who lost loved ones and those who survived.

"My thoughts, and those of everyone in the Metropolitan Police, are with those for whom Grenfell Tower was home, those who are grieving and the local community.

"We will continue to do everything we can to find answers to those who are missing loved ones. I know that for those who are suffering those answers cannot come quickly enough."


+++


Latest update at 12:50hrs on Monday, 19 June:

Speaking today at a media briefing, Commander Stuart Cundy provided an update regarding the ongoing work of the Metropolitan Police Service following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower.

Commander Cundy said:

"Over the course of the last 48 hours there's been a huge amount of effort undertaken by our investigators to understand as completely as we possibly can just how many people this is directly affecting and how many people are missing who were in Grenfell Tower that night. As I've said before, I have to presume if people are missing that they are dead.

"This is a hugely complex situation and as I have said from the very start I must be as accurate as possible when I update you, and I want to do that as soon as I can.

"I cannot imagine the distress and suffering that not knowing what has happened to your loved one is causing and I completely understand the desire for answers that families, those for whom Grenfell Tower was home and the local community have.

"Sadly, what I can say now is that as a result of all our efforts we believe - as of 08:00hrs this morning - that 79 people are either dead or missing and sadly we must presume them dead following the fire at Grenfell Tower.

"Of those 79 - five have people have been formally identified.

"I have specially trained family liaison officers that are supporting all those families affected at this truly difficult time.

"The terrible reality of the fire that night means that we are supporting some people who may have lost a number of members of their family on that night.

"We will give them every possible support at this truly difficult time. Clearly, our family liaison officers will be doing that with the utmost compassion and dignity.

"However - what I must stress is that the figure of 79 may change and it may change for a number of reasons.

"Based on what I know today I do not expect that to be in such numbers as we have seen over the last few days.

"As our understanding of the tragedy becomes clear, there may be people who were in Grenfell Tower on the night who people, such as families and others, did not know were in there on the night and they have died.

"Equally there may be people who were in there that we believe are missing that did escape but for whatever reason have not let it be known that they're safe and well, so again I would appeal to them directly.

"I don't care about the reasons why you haven't told us you are safe, please contact the Casualty Bureau or contact your family, your friends and tell them you're safe and well.

"There are also those who we have been told have connections to Grenfell Tower who may have been there that night and we were doing our utmost over the weekend, and we continue today, to locate them to make sure that they are safe and well. That's less about people we know were there on the night and is about people who have friends in Grenfell Tower who we may have received a call about, but we don't know for certain that they were there on the night.

"Significant efforts are now being made to trace all those people to ensure we know that they are safe and well.

"What is important to myself, and all of us, is to find everyone who is inside the building and return them to their loved ones.

"Thankfully, due to all the work we have been doing over the last few days, we have located five people who we feared dead and are in fact safe and well.

"Our work to recover those people from inside is ongoing - specialist teams from the London Fire Brigade, London Ambulance Service and the police are continuing their painstaking task to locate and recover all those in Grenfell Tower.

"We have been able to send those teams through the whole building from the top to bottom.

"On Saturday I was in there myself, I went all the way to the top floor and it's incredibly hard to describe the devastation suffered in some parts of the building.

"That is why we have taken the step of issuing the material yesterday to help people understand the complexity of this work and why it will take so long. I'm grateful to the occupants of the flat that let us share those images.

"It is an awful reality that some people may not be identified due to the intensity of the fire.

"Throughout that process we will clearly fully support and work with families and those that have lost loved ones. We will explain to families what the identification process is.

"Once people are recovered from the building they are being taken to Westminster Mortuary where post-mortems and formal identification procedures are undertaken.

"To date five people have been formally identified - once that has happened and with the agreement of the families we will make their names public.

"The identification process as I've explained before is to international disaster identification standards meaning we are relying on dental records, finger prints or DNA.

"We may need to request records from around the world these may take time to receive.

"It's so important to me that families have complete confidence in our identification processes so they know it is their loved one being returned to them and that's why it's so exhaustive and it can be very time consuming.

"Our absolutely commitment to those families is that we do this work as quickly as we possibly can.

"The scale of this investigation is truly significant and we are looking at all criminal offences that may have been committed and from day one have worked closely with London Fire Brigade, the Health and Safety Executive and a wide range of specialists.

"The investigation will be exhaustive to identify how the fire started and how it spread.

"The investigation will look at how - but more importantly why this happened.

"It will be far reaching - in a number of areas including how the building was managed and maintained, fire safety measures and the refurbishment that was reported to have finished in 2014.

"Only when we have investigated fully and properly will I be able to say what happened and why - to speculate now would be simply wrong.

"But as a consequence of our investigation, if we identify anything that suggests there is a risk to public safety we will inform the relevant and appropriate agencies immediately.

"To help people understand the scale of the investigation, over the weekend on a daily basis I had around 250 investigators working on all aspects of this investigation.

"I'd like to thank the public for their response to our request for their help - we've received about 70 images and pieces of footage in response to our appeal and I would like to repeat that once again today.

"If you have images or footage of the fire and the immediate aftermath please get them to us.

"That material may prove vital as we investigation how the fire started and spread that night.

"I would like to thank the local community and those who lived in Grenfell Tower for the patience they have shown emergency services since day one.

"Our search and recovery operation at Grenfell Tower is going to take weeks and I would ask for the public to bear that in mind as we go about a truly important operation to recover those that have died.

"As the scale of this terrible tragedy and human cost becomes clearer, the thoughts of me, the Metropolitan Police, emergency services, the local community, Londoners and everyone across this nation, all of our thoughts, are with those who have been most affected as a result of this fire."


+++


Latest update at 19:50hrs on Sunday, 18 June:

Detectives investigating the fire at Grenfell Tower have today released images and footage from inside the building.

The material was captured by a specialist police recovery team who has been working closely alongside colleagues from the London Ambulance Service and the London Fire Brigade as part of the ongoing operation.

Commander Stuart Cundy, said:

"It is really important that we are clear about the scale of the challenge facing us as our teams search Grenfell Tower to recover those people still inside and return them to their loved ones.

"Whilst our teams have been from the bottom to the top of the tower, we must now carry out a full forensic and systematic search. The conditions due to the fire damage verge on indescribable, which is why this will be such a lengthy operation taking weeks to complete. We must also prepare people for the terrible reality that some people may not be identified due to the intensity of the fire.

“Family liaison officers are supporting families, and that includes those people we know to be dead; some of those who are critically ill and sadly those people who we have been told were in Grenfell Tower that night who we have been unable to trace.

“Work has been ongoing throughout the night and continues today, so we can get as good an understanding as possible about who we believe to be still missing.

"Sadly that work leads me to believe that the number of people missing, but as yet unaccounted for has risen from yesterday’s figure of 58.

“Today, police teams continue their support to families, and make enquiries to cross check the number of those missing. I have always said I will be accurate about what I know, so the next figure of those presumed dead and missing will be released tomorrow, Monday, 19 June. The figure will be higher but I do not wish to speculate on that number today.

“I must consider the fact that there may be others in the building who, for whatever reason have not been reported to us. There is also a real possibility that there may be people in the building that no one knows are missing.

"I want to hear from anyone who believes that they know someone who may have been living, staying or visiting but has not yet been reported missing to us. We are not interested in your reasons for not telling us sooner, we just want to understand as best as we can who may still be inside the building."

Anyone who has concerns about someone who they know may have been living, visiting or staying in Grenfell Towers, but has not yet been contacted by the police or not yet reported their concerns about a possible missing person should call the police Casualty Bureau on 0800 0961 233.

The Casualty Bureau will be able to take all the relevant information from the caller to enable the police to further investigate if the reported person can be traced. If you initially reported someone as missing but have now traced them, but not called back the Casualty Bureau to report them as found please do so.

Casualty Bureau provides a really important link between the public reporting people as missing and the specialist investigators working on the operation to recover and identify those who are dead.

The images released today have been taken inside flats where police know that everyone inside has been accounted for a resident of each flat notified by police of the release of the material.

Detectives are working through the material that has already been supplied by the public following yesterday's appeal.

Commander Cundy added:

"I'm really grateful to all those people who have provided us with material that could help our investigation. I'd urge anyone who has not yet provided us with material to please do so.

"Our investigation will be wide ranging and exhaustive - it will seek to find out if any crimes have been committed and if so make sure that we do all we can to bring any person responsible to justice.

"This will take us some time, but I give my commitment that if as part of that investigation we identify anything that gives cause for concern for the safety of the public we will inform the relevant authorities."

Anyone with any material, which they haven’t yet provided to police, can upload it via www.ukpoliceimageappeal.co.uk or email via Grenfell.investigation@met.police.uk.

Latest update at 18:55hrs on Saturday, 17 June:

The Metropolitan Police Service can now confirm the identity of one of the victims who perished as a result of the Grenfell Tower fire after formal identification has taken place.

Mohammad Alhajali, aged 23, who lived in Grenfell Tower has now been formally identified. A post mortem examination was carried out on Friday, 16 June at Westminster Mortuary.

Family liaison officers have now been deployed to support 52 families. These include the families of those deceased as well as those who are critically injured, and also families in cases where police have strong reason to believe that people reported as missing are very likely to be inside Grenfell Tower.

Over the last four days police have worked tirelessly to provide greater clarity on the number of people that are believed to have died in the fire. This has involved focusing our efforts on the people we have been told were in the building at the time of the fire but have not been seen since.

Based on what police now know, sadly 58 are missing and we assume likely to have died.

This latest figure includes the 30 already confirmed to have died in the devastating fire in a west London tower block on Wednesday.

Those families who have not yet had a family liaison officer deployed to support them will be contacted by police throughout the course of this afternoon.

16 bodies are now in a mortuary, including one person who died in hospital - the others have been recovered from the building.

At this stage 19 people remain in hospital of which ten are receiving critical care. Everyone who was taken to or who remains in hospital has been identified.

The ongoing search and rescue operation being carried out by joint specialist teams from the London Fire Brigade, London Ambulance Service and the Met had to stop yesterday afternoon due to serious concerns about the safety of those recovering bodies due to the overwhelming damage caused by the fire.

As of 13:30 today those teams have re-entered the building and are now continuing with the recovery operation, which will take many weeks to come.

Commander Stuart Cundy, said:

"Whilst I sincerely hope that our work over the coming days means that we are able to say that less people are confirmed as having died, I also have to consider the sad reality that this may rise.

"I would like to ask anyone who was in Grenfell Tower that night, but for whatever reason has not told us they are safe, to please call our Casualty Bureau. It does not matter why you have not told us, what is important is that we know you are safe.

"I completely understand the growing sense of frustration within the local community and especially those people for whom Grenfell Tower was home. The loss of life as a result of this tragedy is truly harrowing, and we remain committed to providing the certainty and answers as soon as we possibly can.

"Sadly, our work will be ongoing for many, many weeks. We know that there are still bodies of those who died inside the building and we want to return those people to their families as soon as we possibly can.

"The work to search the building is challenging, but naturally could never be done quickly enough for those currently having to live with the uncertainty of knowing where their loved ones are.

"Family liaison officers are providing support to 52 families. We are drawing on officers from across the Met, and other forces, to provide our response and will make sure that our response has as many officers as it needs."

Detectives carrying out the investigation are appealing for the public's help.

Commander Cundy continued:

"I would like to ask the public for their help with this complex investigation. If you have images or videos that show the fire then please give it to us. Part of our investigation will involve a painstaking analysis of how the fire spread and this footage could be vital to helping establish that.

"The human cost and terrible reality of what took place at Grenfell Tower affects so many people, my thoughts and those of all my colleagues remain with those so deeply affected."

Through our ongoing family liaison support, families will be informed as soon as formal identifications have been made - this can only be done when police can prove beyond doubt the identity. Due to the intensity of the fire that took hold of the building this is essential in ensuring that families can be confident in identification processes.

Internationally recognised standards of identification are being used to identify the deceased. These are known as the INTERPOL Disaster Victim Identification Standards.

Victims are identified where possible, by at least one of the primary identification methods which are dental comparison, fingerprints and DNA.

Other, secondary, identification features are also taken into consideration, such as tattoos and scars. Supporting information to consider can include jewellery, clothing or property.

Trained liaison officers are deployed into families once a preliminary identification has been made, who support them through the formal identification process.

These processes take place in conjunction with the coroner. Both the Met and the coroner are committed to working as quickly as possible to identify people and repatriate them to their families.

Anyone with any images or footage is asked to send them to the investigation team via www.ukpoliceimageappeal.co.uk. Please select Grenfell Investigation from the drop down menu before adding any images or footage.

You can still also email: grenfell.investigation@met.police.uk

Detectives would also like to receive the sender's contact details and where and when the imagery was taken.


+++


Latest update at 12:00hrs on Friday, 16 June:

The Metropolitan Police Service is leading the investigation into the fire at Grenfell Tower.

The investigation team is being drawn together from detectives from across the Met, led by Detective Chief Inspector Matt Bonner of the Homicide and Major Crime Command.

At this stage the Met can confirm that, following initial reports from specialist investigators and experts who have examined the flat where the fire started, there is nothing to suggest the fire was started deliberately.

However, like any police investigation, it is the job of the police to establish all the facts and if any criminal offences have been committed.

The Met will work closely with the London Fire Brigade and the Health and Safety Executive, and it has been agreed that the police will take primacy of the investigation.

The investigation will look at all aspects of how people tragically lost their lives in this terrible fire, what happened and why.

At least 30 fatalities have been confirmed; the bodies of twelve people have been recovered and are at a mortuary, which includes one person who has also died at hospital, despite the best efforts of colleagues in the NHS.

The other deceased remain inside the building. Sadly, it is expected that the total will rise and it is not expected that any survivors will be found.

Commander Stuart Cundy said:

"It is very hard to find the words to express how those families affected must be feeling, and it is our job to work tirelessly to provide them with the answers they so richly deserve. This is a deeply distressing time and my thoughts remain with all those whose lives have been changed by this tragic incident.

"A priority of each and every one of us involved in the ongoing operation at Grenfell Towers is to recover and identify all the victims.

"Working with the Coroner and specialist detectives, using internationally recognised standards of identification, we will ensure that families are informed as soon as possible when we know beyond doubt that it is their loved one who has been identified.

"As I have said, that will be a complex process. Our efforts are focused on making sure we have family liaison officers supporting all those families where people are dead, critically ill in hospital or still unaccounted for.

"I'd urge anyone who has not yet been contacted by the police but is missing loved ones to either go to the reception centre at the Westway sports and leisure centre or call our Casualty Bureau on 0800 0961 233. This is really important so police liaison officers can directly support families."

At this stage 24 people remain in hospital, 12 of whom are receiving critical care. Commander Cundy, added:

"The conditions inside Grenfell Tower mean that the search and recovery operation to find and recover the victims is extremely challenging. The upper floors of the block are particularly hazardous due to the damage caused by the fire. The sad reality is that this work will take some time, stretching into many, many weeks.

"We have specialist teams from the Police, London Fire Brigade and London Ambulance Service working closely together to do this as safely yet as swiftly as possible.

"Equally, our investigation will be complex and lengthy and will draw on some of our most experienced detectives from across the Met.

"We are determined to provide those families with detailed answers about the tragedy that has taken their loved ones from them and affected many others for the rest of their lives."

Dedicated and specially trained family liaison officers are being drawn together from a wide range of units and commands.

As of 08:00hrs today, (Friday, 16 June), family liaison officers have been deployed to support 36 families. These include the families of those identified as deceased as well as those who are critically injured, and also families in cases where police have strong reason to believe that people reported as missing are very likely to be inside Grenfell Towers.

The number of deployments will increase throughout the course of today.

The Casualty Bureau continues to be staffed 24 hours a day. If someone you have reported missing has now been found please update us at the Westway sports and leisure centre in Crowthorne Road or via Casualty Bureau.


+++


Latest update at 18:45hrs on Thursday, 15 June:

Met Police Commander Stuart Cundy this afternoon said work to identify those who tragically died in the Grenfell Tower fire in Kensington is our top priority.

Officers are working around the clock, alongside the other emergency services, to recover the bodies of those who have died, identify them and support their families.

We are asking families and friends who are missing loved ones to make contact with the police in two ways:

- If you can attend in person, please go to the reception centre at the Westway sports and leisure centre. This afternoon we have placed a team of detectives there to sit down with people and take full details of anyone missing or who has information.

- If you cannot attend, call Casualty Bureau on 0800 0961 233. If you cannot get through, we would urge you to please keep trying. Be aware that our staff are very busy - but your call will be answered and you will be helped.

The Casualty Bureau is being staffed 24/7 and has taken 5,000 calls so far. Around 200 trained staff from the Met, supported from police officers and staff from seven other forces around the country, are taking calls and also calling people back to update them

If someone you have reported missing has now been found please update us at the Westway or via Casualty Bureau.

A total of 17 fatalities have been confirmed; the bodies of six people have been recovered and are at Westminster Mortuary and 11 remain inside the building. We sadly expect that total to rise and we do not expect to find any survivors.

Commander Cundy said: "The recovery of victims from inside the building is enormously challenging, but it is our absolute priority above everything else to recover and identify the victims and let the families know.

"It is important to be frank - fires are still breaking out and conditions are very difficult and hazardous for the emergency services in the upper levels of the building.

"We can only recover bodies when it is safe to do so and that will take some time in the days and weeks to come. We have experts from urban search and rescue and the London Fire Brigade carrying out this process.

"We believe we know the provisional identity of six of the deceased and those families have trained family liaison officers supporting them. We have identified all those injured in hospital. The families of the 16 who remain in a critical condition, as well as others in hospital with less serious injuries, are all aware.

"I cannot begin to put myself in the shoes of those families affected and I can entirely understand their frustration at not knowing if their loved ones are amongst those who have died. Sadly, the nature of injuries caused by such an intense fire will mean the identification process will take some time. But it would also be deeply distressing for families for us to release wrong information.

"Aside from the six people, we simply do not know at this stage the identity of those who are deceased. We cannot release information we do not have and it is so important the information we do release is entirely accurate.

"Families can help us by ensuring we have all the information we need - please go to the Westway centre or speak to Casualty Bureau, even if you have before, so we can be clear on who is missing, survivors and sadly the deceased."

Internationally-recognised standards of identification are used to identify the deceased. These are known as the INTERPOL Disaster Victim Identification Standards.

Victims are identified where possible, by at least one of the primary identification methods which are dental comparison, fingerprints and DNA.

Other, secondary, identification features are also taken into consideration, such as tattoos and scars. Supporting information to consider can include jewellery, clothing or property.

Once a preliminary identification has been made, trained liaison officers are deployed to support families.

These processes take place in conjunction with the coroner. Both the Met and the coroner are committed to working as quickly as possible to identify people and repatriate them to their families.

Once more, our thoughts remain with all those so affected by this tragedy.


+++


Latest update at 11:00hrs on Thursday, 15 June:

At 11:00hrs today (Thursday, 15 June) in a statement at the cordon of Grenfell Tower, Commander Stuart Cundy, from the Metropolitan Police Service, said:

"Today is about those who are waiting for news about their loved ones. Our thoughts remain with those so deeply affected by the events over the last 24 hours.

"Yesterday was a very difficult day, clearly it was challenging overnight particularly for colleagues from fire. Today the work really starts in earnest to ensure that we do the appropriate recovery of everybody from those premises.

"Sadly I can confirm the number of people that have died is now 17. We do believe that that number will increase.

"From my colleagues in the health service, there are still a number of people who are receiving treatment in hospital. There are 37 people receiving treatment, of which 17 are still in critical care.

"Like we explained yesterday, our absolute priority is identifying and locating those people who are still missing. It would be wrong for me to get into numbers that I do not believe are accurate.

"Our Casualty Bureau number is 0800 0961 233. If you have reported somebody missing and you now know they are safe and well please contact that number so we can identify those that we're still trying to find.

"My heart goes out to those families still trying to find their loved ones. Rest assured, please get in contact with us through the Casualty Bureau and our specialist trained officers will be in touch with you to support you through this.

"It is going to take a considerable period of time, and the building needs to be made structurally safe, in order that we can do our job and investigate.

"A large team of specialist detectives will be investigating under Detective Chief Inspector Matt Bonner, alongside colleagues from the fire brigade. But I reiterate again, it is going to be a lengthy process.

"Again, my thanks to the community and the public for their patience which they are showing. I know this is an exceptionally difficult and challenging time.

"If you have any concerns about anybody, again please contact the police Casualty Bureau.

"I would like to pay tribute to all of those who have been involved in this incident. From the first responders, through to those that are supporting them, the staff at the reception centres around this area, the tremendous public support in donations, which I think is a real testament to the community spirit of Londoners."


+++


At 17:00 today (Wednesday, 14 June) in a statement at the cordon of the Grenfell Tower fire, Commander Stuart Cundy of the Metropolitan Police Service said:

"This remains an active operation by our colleagues from the Fire Brigade.

"Sadly I can confirm that 12 people have died that we know of. There is going to be a long and complex recovery operation. I do anticipate the number of fatalities will sadly increase beyond those 12 people.

"The thoughts of all of us from the emergency services - and I am sure colleagues from the local authority and all Londoners - are with those that have been so affected by a fire on a scale that we have probably not seen in London for many, many years.

"I have said before, and I would reiterate again, from a police perspective what's really important that we identify and account for everybody.

"We have had call handlers in our Casualty Bureau taking hundreds of calls today. Now our experience shows us in cases like this, it is very, very challenging to put a number on how many people are unaccounted for.

"Our priority is clearly those we know would have been resident within Grenfell Tower, but there might have been others that were staying with family or friends. So if you do have any concerns, please contact the Casualty Bureau.

"If you have been reported missing, or reported somebody missing and they are now found safe and well, again I would reiterate, please contact the Casualty Bureau, so we know that person is safe and well.

"Thank you very much to all the community for their patience. This is going to be a long operation as I said a moment ago. Not just today and not just tonight, as we make sure the fire is completely put out, but then the recovery operation from the tower itself. It will be vitally important as we work closely with the Coroner that we locate and identify all those that have tragically died within this truly truly shocking fire.

"There are a number of reception centres that have been set up locally. There are a lot of people that have been truly affected by this fire and I would request that you, the media, please bear that in mind with the reporting and some of the imagery that I know has already gone out on social media. Thank you."

The Metropolitan Police Casualty Bureau phone number is 0800 0961 233. If you don't get through first time - please keep trying.


+++


Wednesday, 14 June - Latest at 12:15hrs

Police were called at 01:16hrs to reports of a large fire at a block of flats at the Lancaster West Estate, W11. Officers were sent to the scene to assist colleagues from the London Fire Brigade (LFB) and the London Ambulance Service (LAS).

Residents have been evacuated from the tower block and a number of those have sought medical assistance from the LAS. A total of 74 patients are currently being treated in six London hospitals. Of these patients 64 were treated at the scene by ambulance crews and taken to hospital for further treatment. The remainder made their own way. A total of 20 are in critical care.

Commander Stuart Cundy, from the Metropolitan Police, said: "Our thoughts are with everyone involved in this truly shocking fire at Grenfell Tower.

"I can confirm six fatalities at this time but this figure is likely to rise during what will be a complex recovery operation over a number of days. Many others are receiving medical care.

"If you do have any concerns for anybody connected to this awful event, please call the Casualty Bureau on 0800 0961 233. If you do not get through immediately, please try again. If you have any concerns, please use that number rather than dialling 999 or 101.

"If you are a resident who has been evacuated from the area and can't now get home the current reception centre being coordinated by the local authority is at the Portobello Rugby club at Walmer Road. We urge anyone who lived in the block to make themselves known at that centre so that we know they are safe. If you are unable to get to the centre please speak to a police officer. This is really important as we account for all those in the building.

"Equally if you have reported someone missing and they are now safe and well it is really important that you contact Casualty Bureau so that we can keep an accurate record of who is missing and who is safe.

"We kindly ask that the public stay away from the area. I thank the public for their patience and their cooperation today which has already greatly assisted our policing response."

Commander Cundy added: "There are a significant number of officers at the scene who are continuing to work with the other emergency services and agencies. I’d like to thank my officers and colleagues at London Fire Brigade and London Ambulance Service for the sterling work they are doing at this time."

Extensive cordons remain in place and a number of nearby residents have been evacuated as a precaution. The A40 is closed in both directions.

It is likely to take some time before we are in a position to confirm the identity of the victims.

It is too early to speculate on the cause of the fire.

Anyone concerned about a loved one should contact Casualty Bureau on 0800 0961 233 or 0207 158 0197.

Those travelling to and from the area are asked to check before they start their journey visit


+++


Wednesday, 14 June - Latest at 8:02hrs

There have been a number of fatalities following the fire in North Kensington in the early hours this morning, Wednesday, 14 June.

Police were called at 01:16hrs to reports of a large fire at a block of flats at the Lancaster West Estate, W11.

Officers were sent to the scene to assist colleagues from the London Fire Brigade (LFB) and the London Ambulance Service (LAS).

Residents have been evacuated from the tower block and number of those have sought medical assistance from the LAS. The evacuation process continues.

Commander Stuart Cundy, from the Metropolitan Police, said: "All the emergency services and other agencies continue to work together at the scene.

"I can confirm there have been a number of fatalities and others receiving medical care. We will be soon making contact with next of kin.

"Anyone who is concerned about loved ones in relation to the fire should contact Casualty Bureau which has been opened following the fire. If you do not get through immediately please do try again.

"Extensive cordons remain in place and a number of nearby residents have been evacuated as a precaution. The A40 is closed in both directions. We kindly ask that the public stay away from the area. I thank the public for their patience and their cooperation today which has already greatly assisted our policing response."

It is likely to take some time before we are in a position to confirm the cause of the fire.

Anyone concerned about a loved one should contact Casualty Bureau on 0800 0961 233 or 0207 158 0197.

Those travelling to and from the area are asked to check before they start their journey visit www.tfl.gov.uk

Wednesday, 14 June - Latest at 02:14hrs

Police were called at 01:16hrs on Wednesday, 14 June to reports of a large fire at a block of flats in the Lancaster West Estate, W11.

Officers, the London Fire Brigade and the London Ambulance Service are currently at the scene.

An evacuation process is underway.

Residents continue to be evacuated from the tower block. A number of people being treated for a range of injuries.

The Local Authority has been informed.

Cordons are in place and it is advised that the estate and surrounding area is avoided.