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Grenfell: The perspective of the emergency services

POINT OF VIEW: A Metropolitan Police officer looks at a disturbing scene now a part of the west London skyline

POLICE, FIREFIGHTERS and NHS personnel have been at the frontlines of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, responding diligently to panic-stricken 999 callers, braving the inferno itself and offering help and support to the confused and the injured.

As a former police officer, I know from first-hand experience that the use of riot shields is always emotive. Officers at Grenfell Tower are reported to have used their riot shields to thwart the brave attempts of locals who were trying to get into the building and save those trapped inside. Personally, I would rather used a wall of shields to do the latter, than physically pushing and grappling with people who are clearly and justifiably distressed.


A Territorial Support Group (TSG) officer pointed out to myself that The Voice hadn't reported the sentiments of firefighter Damian Magee, who appeared on Sky News. Towards the end of Magee's moving interview he praised those TSG officers who used their riot shields to protect firefighters from falling, burning debris as they moved around outside.

Despite this disappointment expressed from some of my colleagues in the policing community, who felt that The Voice hadn't given due credence to the human aspect of the work of our emergency services, one fact on which we can all agree remains - such a disaster must never, ever be allowed to happen again.

Firefighters and police now have the unenviable task of recovering bodies of those who perished and identifying them so that grieving families and friends can ensure dignified funerals. Personally, I would find that such a vital task would have been totally beyond me and hopefully those undertaking such tasks will receive the approbation their efforts deserve.

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