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Morning Briefing: fire safety under spotlight as police suspect manslaughter

As the police reveal their suspicions of corporate manslaughter, revelations about fire safety in other British tower blocks come to light.

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Morning Briefing: fire safety under spotlight as police suspect manslaughter

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British and international papers alike are reporting on the letter sent by the Metropolitan Police to survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire informing them that there are “reasonable grounds” to suspect that the council and the tenant management organisation committed corporate manslaughter.

The police have mentioned the possibility of manslaughter charges before, but this is the first time they have name potential defendants.

Meanwhile, Sky News and The Independent have picked up on an investigation by Inside Housing, which found fire safety flaws in hundreds of English tower blocks.

The flaws range from defective fire doors to holes in walls which could allow smoke and flames to spread from floor to floor.

The BBC is also reporting that at least 60 tower blocks are clad with materials that have been proven to be unsafe. The news follows the release of the first results from the government’s new round of testing, which tests whole systems in a model wall, rather than simply burning the plastic core of a cladding material.

A system made up of aluminium composite material (ACM) with a polyethylene (PE) core, combined with a polyisocyanurate (PIR) insulating foam – the system used on Grenfell – has failed the government’s test. Salford Council has already begun removing this system from nine of its tower blocks.

The archbishop of York, meanwhile, has called for “justice and truth” in the inquiry and police investigation into the Grenfell Tower fire, The Guardian is reporting. John Sentamu insisted that without these things there could be no reconciliation.

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