14:31 GMT +312 December 2018
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    A police officer stands near to the burnt Grenfell Tower apartment building standing testament to the recent fire in London, Friday, June 23, 2017.

    Police Carry Out Raids in London and Arrest Nine for Grenfell Tower Fraud

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    Detectives have arrested eight men and a woman who are suspected of falsely claiming they lived in the UK's fatal Grenfell Tower block. Police also confirmed on Thursday that senior fire officers could face charges under the Health and Safety Act.

    Detective Superintendent Matt Bonner said the nine suspects were alleged to have received between £25,000 and £100,000 each in benefits or accommodation. Some had been living in hotels ever since the night of the fire on June 14, 2017.

    Det. Supt. Bonner said the police were conscious of next week's anniversary and "consulted with the community where we could" before launching the raids. He insisted none of those arrested were "survivors."

    "These individuals that we have arrested and those previously convicted do not represent the Grenfell community. They have attached themselves to a community to exploit and make financial gain… They risk wrongly labeling the community," Det. Supt. Bonner told reporters at a briefing at Scotland Yard.

    Police also said the official death toll from the fire remained 71 — 70 people and an unborn baby.

    Commander Stuart Cundy said Maria Del Pilar Burton, 74, who died in January was a "victim of the fire" but the coroner had ruled that her death was not as a direct result of the fire.

    In 2012, three fire fighters were acquitted of manslaughter by gross negligence after four of their colleagues died after being sent into a burning vegetable warehouse in Warwickshire in 2007. 

    ​Also on Thursday, June 7, Stephen Walsh QC, counsel for the London Fire Brigade, said it was a "fundamental misunderstanding" to assume that fire commanders could change the "stay put" policy at any time when the building was not designed for a mass evacuation.

    "If there is no policy applied by the building owner which provides for a policy of simultaneous evacuation and there are no evacuation plans and there are no general fire alarms — what is an incident commander on the fire ground to do?" he told the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.

    Cmdr. Cundy also confirmed Grenfell Tower remained a "crime scene" and would do until at least July or August. He said he would hand it over to Kensington Council when he was satisfied that an off-site testing facility was ready.   

     

    Related:

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    Grenfell Tower Inquiry Delves Into Causes of Horrific Blaze Which Killed 72
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    fire, Grenfell Tower fire, United Kingdom
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