Grenfell Tower detectives ‘unlikely to send a file to prosecutors until at least the end of 2021’,

Detectives investigating possible criminal offences in relation to the Grenfell Tower fire will be ‘unlikely’ to pass their findings to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) before the second half of 2021.

In a statement the Metropolitan Police said: ‘Since the launch of the criminal investigation into the Grenfell Tower fire, the Met has been working closely with the Crown Prosecution Service.

‘As the Grenfell Tower Inquiry (GTI) has progressed, both the police senior investigating officer and the CPS agree that the police investigation must take into account any findings or reports produced by the GTI, including its final report.

‘If the police investigation concludes there is sufficient evidence to consider criminal charges in relation to the fire, a file will be submitted to the CPS for its consideration.

The devastating fire at Grenfell Tower in the Lancaster West Estate in North Kensington

‘The GTI has previously stated that it is unlikely phase two public hearings will begin before the end of 2019.

‘The publication of any final inquiry report will follow phase two hearings and so the Met’s assessment is that any file submission to the CPS is unlikely to be sooner than the latter part of 2021.’

Detective Superintendent Matt Bonner, who leads the investigation into the fire, said: ‘We have always said our investigation will be thorough, exploring all reasonable lines of enquiry and examining all the available evidence.

‘While the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and the police investigation are independent of each other, our timelines are inextricably linked.

More than 200 firefighters tackled the Grenfell blaze but 72 people died on June 14 2017

More than 200 firefighters tackled the Grenfell blaze but 72 people died on June 14 2017

‘For our investigation to be considered thorough and complete, it must consider all relevant information and it would be wrong not to take into account evidence given to the public inquiry and its final report and findings.

‘We are in regular contact with the bereaved families and survivors as well as the wider community, and have informed them of our projected timeline for the investigation.

‘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.’

Campaign group Grenfell United said residents were told about the police decision in a meeting this evening.

Natasha Elcock, chairwoman of Grenfell United, said it was ‘extremely frustrating and disheartening’.

She said: ‘The week after a fire that killed our loved ones and neighbours, Theresa May promised us justice. 

‘Justice for us means accountable and change.

‘Today the police have said no charges will be brought until at least 2021. And we see little real change.

‘We are living in a limbo with no individuals or organisations being held accountable and it is so painful for all of us who lost loved ones and our homes that night.

The Met told survivors this evening that detectives' file would not get to the CPS until late 2021 at the earliest

The Met told survivors this evening that detectives’ file would not get to the CPS until late 2021 at the earliest

‘We wait month after month, our lives on hold, for some kind of justice and progress. It is extremely frustrating and disheartening to now be told this will be our way of life for years to come.

‘We know the truth about what happened to us. 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.’

Ms Elcock urged the Government to provide families with reassurance that they will get justice.

She said: ‘It’s March and Sir Martin Moore-Bick hasn’t even confirmed a timeline for the Inquiry this year. We still don’t have the panel we were promised, we don’t know when the next stage starts or where the venue is.

‘Vague reassurances are wearing thin, families need clear commitments to keep faith in this process.

‘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.

‘It is now 21 months since the fire, 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.

‘Today we have to ask will Theresa May be remembered as the Prime Minister that brought us justice and change or the Prime Minister that failed us?’

Water being sprayed on the tower block. It took firefighters more than 24 hours to extinguish the blaze

Water being sprayed on the tower block. It took firefighters more than 24 hours to extinguish the blaze

The fire, described by the judge leading the inquiry as the worst disaster to hit London since the second world war, started in a Hotpoint fridge freezer on the fourth floor, at around 54 minutes past midnight on the morning of June 14, 2017.

Police say it was not started deliberately.

The fire ripped up one side of the building externally before engulfing the entire block.

More than 200 firefighters and 40 fire engines responded to the fire at the 24-storey block in North Kensington but it took 24 hours to get it under control. The fire destroyed 151 homes, both in the tower and surrounding areas.

Seventy-two people died in the fire, including baby Logan Gomes, who was stillborn in hospital on 14 June after his parents escaped the tower block, and Maria Del Pilar Burton, 74, who was taken to hospital but never recovered, dying in January 2018. 

Sixty-five people were rescued by the fire brigade, but many people were told to stay in their homes by emergency responders.  

Flammable cladding – installed on Grenfell Tower in a recent renovation – is thought to have contributed to the rapid spread of the fire.