Met Police officers sue force over ‘trauma’ suffered at Grenfell

The fire took place in 2017 (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Archive)
The fire took place in 2017 (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Archive)

Around 33 Metropolitan Police officers are seeking compensation for “psychiatric injuries” suffered in the Grenfell Tower disaster.

PC Martin Hart, left traumatised by trying to save a man who jumped from building, is lead claimant in the High Court action also loss of earnings.

A total of 27 serving and six former officers are pursuing civil claims against 12 parties including the Met Commissioner, the chief of London Fire Brigade and Kensington and Chelsea Council.

The Sunday Times reported 23 of them were among the first to arrive at the inferno in Ladbroke Grove which claimed 72 lives on June 14, 2017.

Ten others say they were haunted after searching the burnt-out building.

Lawyers could soon reach an out-of-court settlement worth millions of pounds, the newspaper said which had angered some survivors and bereaved families who feel let down by the emergency services.

PC Hart is said to be so traumatised by what he experienced he remains unable to work.

He recalled in a police witness statement: “I considered the horrific choice so many people would have to make between burning to death and jumping to almost certain death.

“I thought about the possibility of parents being trapped inside and having to look at their children, knowing that they could not get them to safety and praying for rescue.

“These thoughts made me feel sick, and when I looked at the male on the ground in front of me, I knew that what he must have been through must have been unthinkable.”

Louise Taylor, a solicitor at Penningtons Manches Cooper, said: “My clients, including Mr Hart, sustained significant psychiatric injuries - some of which are life-changing and permanent - due to their involvement with the Grenfell tragedy, in which they risked their lives.

Last month it was announced that 114 firefighters involved in a similar legal action had received a £20million settlement, equivalent to £175,000 each.

A separate claim involving 900 bereaved relatives, survivors and other residents was settled for £150m in May last year, an average of about £167,000 per person.

A Met spokesman stressed no court date had been set or settlement reached.

He added: “This is part of an action made by the officers against other parties involved in both responding to the fire and the management and refurbishment of the building.”