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Grenfell fire: Probe launched into police helicopters

Police helicopter by tower Image copyright PA
Image caption Nabil Choucair said the presence of helicopters meant some people did not leave the tower

An investigation is to be carried out into whether the use of police helicopters during the Grenfell Tower fire led to more people dying.

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.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it would manage an inquiry, led by the Met.

Seventy-one people died in the fire.

Mr Choucair told the BBC the six members of his family who died were given "the false hope and the false impression" that it was an emergency helicopter.

He said they had requested the help of the helicopter via 999 calls, but they were never told it was for observation purposes only and not meant for a rescue.

As part of his official complaint, Mr Choucair also said he also believed the downdraft from the helicopters fanned the flames, worsening the fire.

Image caption Six members of Nabil Choucair's family died in the blaze

Sarah Green, deputy chair of the IPCC, said there was "no indication that any police officer may have committed misconduct or a criminal offence" but she had decided an investigation was "appropriate".

She said it would be carried out by Met officers under the direction of the IPCC to "avoid duplication of work during the wider police investigation".

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Seventy-one people died when the blaze broke out in the 24-storey tower

The use of police helicopters is co-ordinated by the National Police Air Service (NPAS).

Ch Supt Tyron Joyce, of the NPAS, 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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