Police have released more details of their investigation into the Grenfell Tower following a meeting with the families of victims who have died.
The families were updated on the progress of the search and recovery operation, the identification process, the coroner inquest process and the police investigation, as well as being given the opportunity to ask questions on Monday (September 18).
It comes as police released the name of the latest victim of the fire to be identified as eight-year-old Mehdi El-Wahabi.
Mehdi's said: “Mehdi was a calm and friendly young boy who loved his family very much.
“He was loved by staff and pupils at his school who held a beautiful memorial and made a plaque in memory of him.”
Police said that while the death toll remains at about 80, the final figure, which will only be known following the completion of the search, recovery and identification process at the end of the year, may not be as high as 80 .
A total of 60 victims have now been identified by the coroner, plus Logan Gomes, a baby born stillborn after his parents fled the burning building .
During the update, police revealed it has been able to double the number of search teams in the building.
Detective Chief Superintendent 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 (Metropolitan Police Service) is undertaking and the scale is huge.
'It is important things are done properly'
"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 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.”
During the briefing, it was revealed:
- Around 200 officers, drawn from across the Met, are working full-time on the Grenfell Tower investigation.
- The investigation is focusing on the construction, refurbishment and management of Grenfell Tower as well as the emergency services’ response. The types of offences that may be discovered include manslaughter on a corporate and/or an individual level charges.
- 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.
- More than 2,500 exhibits have been seized so far, many from within the tower.
- Some 336 different organisations involved in the construction, refurbishment or management of Grenfell will be 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.
- 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.
Police also said eight fraud investigations are ongoing, where people have tried to financially benefit from the fire .
The theft of a sum of money from a flat in Grenfell was reported on September 8, and since then there have been other possible thefts of property and money from another three flats.
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.”
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