Grenfell Tower inferno: IPCC-managed inquiry launched into police use of helicopters

Claims that police helicopters “fanned the flames” of the Grenfell Tower inferno are being investigated after a complaint was raised by a relative of the victims.

Nov 29, 2017

Claims that police helicopters “fanned the flames” of the Grenfell Tower inferno are being investigated after a complaint was raised by a relative of the victims. Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) investigators, managed by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), will look into the possibility the use of the helicopters gave victims false hope of airborne rescue. A total of 71 people were killed when fire swept through the west London tower block on June 14. The MPS is conducting the biggest non-terrorist inquiry in its history into the tragedy. The IPCC confirmed an investigation has been launched into the helicopter allegations. Nabil Choucair, who lost relatives in the blaze, complained the presence of helicopters led to some people remaining inside the tower as they thought they would be rescued. As part of his official complaint, Mr Choucair said he also believed the downdraft from the helicopters fanned the flames, worsening the fire. IPCC deputy chairman Sarah Green said: “In the months since the horrifying fire at Grenfell Tower, there has rightly been a determination that all aspects of the tragedy should be properly scrutinised in the interests of survivors, the families of those who died and the wider public. “While there is at present no indication that any police officer may have committed misconduct or a criminal offence, I have decided it is appropriate for this complaint to be investigated. “The investigation will be undertaken by Metropolitan Police officers, working under the direction and control of the IPCC. “This approach avoids duplication of work during the wider police investigation into the fire, while ensuring there is independent oversight of this complaint.” Chief Superintendent Tyron Joyce, of the National Police Air Service, said it was “entirely right that the circumstances leading up to it and during the operation to bring the fire under control are thoroughly examined”.

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