Met outlines timeline for one of the “largest and most complex investigations ever undertaken”

Criminal trials for the Grenfell Tower fire will not begin until 10 years after the blaze which killed 72 people in 2017.

The Metropolitan Police and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said charges will not be announced until late 2026 with prosecutions likely to take place the following year. 

A total of 19 firms or organisations and 58 individuals are currently under investigation by a team of 180 dedicated officers and staff. 

Stuart Cundy, deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said the investigation was one of the largest and most complex ever undertaken by the Met.

“We are moving as quickly as we can, but we must be thorough and diligent in our investigation,” he said.

Grenfell Tower wrapped


The Grenfell Tower fire killed 72 in June 2017

>> See also: Grenfell Tower final report delayed again

It represents a four year delay on the original timetable announced in 2020, when Scotland Yard had said it anticipated it would submit case files to the Crown Prosecution Service in the latter part of 2021.

The Met will wait until the publication of the Grenfell Inquiry’s phase 2 report, expected later this year, before submitting evidential files to the CPS for charging decisions.

The police body said it expects it will take detectives at least 12 to 18 months to fully assess the inquiry’s report, which is expected to be “substantially longer” than the inquiry’s 800-page phase 1 report.

Detectives will fully assess the findings of the report “line by line” against evidence gathered during the investigation and may need to explore further evidence and witnesses, and interview “some or all” of the criminal suspects again.

“We have updated the bereaved and survivors with our expected timescales and we know how long this sounds, on top of the very long time they have already waited,” Cundy said.

The Met has already submitted eight out of 20 preliminary advice notes to the CPS examining a full range of offences from corporate manslaughter to gross negligence and fraud.

It said the covering report alone for just one of those advice files is 535 pages long, and if the entire file was printed out it would stand almost 7ft high.

>> See also: Decay, delay and deregulation: what we have learnt from the Grenfell Inquiry

The investigation so far has retrieved more than 152 million documents and files, followed more than 27,000 lines of inquiry and taken more than 12,000 witness statements.

More than 27,000 exhibits have been collated including cladding, insulation, doors windows and other parts of the building are being stored in a 635sq m warehouse in an undisclosed location.

Rosemary Ainslie, head of the CPS Special Crime Division, said there is still a lot of work to be done on reaching charging decisions “due to the sheer volume of substantial evidence”.

She added: “It is our hope that by the end of 2026, we will be in a position where we are making decisions.

“As you will appreciate it is not possible to provide any timescales on our charging decisions, so we will not be able to give a definitive date on when everything will be completed but our team of specialist prosecutors will need time to review the final file carefully and thoroughly before making their decisions.”