Justice For Grenfell responds to Metropolitan Police

By agency reporter
September 20, 2017

Justice4Grenfell (J4G) is a community-led organisation, focused on obtaining justice for bereaved families, survivors, evacuated residents and the wider local community, in partnership with representative organisations. J4G will be engaging with the Public Inquiry on behalf of its membership. It has made a statement in response to the announcements made yesterday (19 September 2017) by the Metropolitan Police.

Justice4Grenfell  broadly welcomes the news that the Metropolitan Police have announced that individual manslaughter charges arising from the Grenfell Fire are a possibility. The survivors, bereaved families, evacuated residents and the wider community have all been calling for such charges to be brought, for individuals to be held personally accountable under the law. The prospect of Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council being charged with Corporate Manslaughter, and subsequently paying any fine arising with Council Tax Payers' money is completely unacceptable, a travesty of justice, so this updated position is definitely a step in the right direction.

However, there is still a long way to go before anyone can be certain that individuals will be held accountable. The Police can of course recommend individual charges but the final decision rests with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). There is no guarantee that the CPS will consider there is sufficient evidence to successfully bring such charges. It remains a waiting game.

J4G is concerned that, following the announcement that individual manslaughter charges are possible, the Police have also said that only 59 people have been identified as victims of the fire, and that the overall death toll is likely to be less than the already announced 80. This is bizarre, how can it be so?

From 14 June itself, the on-going narrative from the relevant authorities continues to try and reduce the scale of the disaster, to minimise the number of fatalities. The local Community has never accepted the previous 'official' death toll of 80, believing it to be a gross under-estimate of the true number. How do survivors and the wider community reconcile the considerable number of people still reported as “missing” with that revised estimate, are those listed as missing included in the now reduced overall figure?

In order to achieve any kind of closure, all impacted by the Grenfell fire need clarity, something that has been missing from day one. The continuing attempts to apparently downsize the scale of the disaster only serve to compound the distress and trauma felt by those who have experienced unbelievable horrors. It certainly does not aid recovery.

Justice4Grenfell understands and accepts the need for a thorough criminal investigation, we recognise that this will take time. We would far rather wait for that investigation to be concluded so that ALL the evidence can be presented to the CPS in support of the recommendation for individual manslaughter charges, than for it to be rushed. Rushing the investigation may result in the bringing of lesser, Corporate Manslaughter charges, and completely fail to satisfy the need for justice to be done and seen to be done.

The announcement from the Metropolitan Police can be read here

* Justice4Grenfell https://justice4grenfell.org/

[Ekk/6]

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.