ALL States police officers working on the investigation into the Pier Road explosion have been offered emotional support, according to the case’s senior investigating officer.
Detective Superintendent Alison Fossey said it was important to recognise the potential impact on those involved with Operation Spire, which has been collecting evidence after the explosion at the Haut du Mont flats in St Helier on 10 December.
‘There is welfare and wellbeing support for all officers, including those involved in the inquiry,’ Det Supt Fossey said. ‘It has been very intense and involved long hours at the outset, although we aren’t working at the same intensity now. It’s important to look after each other and we would always be sensitive to anyone who needed to take a break.’
It was confirmed this week that Operation Spire, which has involved more than 900 lines of inquiry, was moving to the next stage, with the site in Pier Road being handed over to the government after the completion of the collection of evidence.
Det Supt Fossey said that a team of specialists would be working over the coming weeks to ensure that all personal effects were returned to the families of the ten Islanders who lost their lives, as well as others who were forced to leave their homes. Those working on the investigation are now continuing to examine evidence, interview key witnesses and liaise with the Law Officers’ Department about potential criminal offences, with Det Supt Fossey saying it was not yet possible to give an exact timeline about when the investigation would be complete.
She said: ‘I would very much like to progress to that point [where the role of the police in the investigation was complete] by the first anniversary of the explosion,’ she said.
‘However we are in the hands of others whose evidence we will be relying on, so we can’t be certain of timings.
‘We are in close touch with the families of the victims, and the displaced residents, and will continue to make sure they are aware in advance of any announcements of news about the investigation,’ she said.
Det Supt Fossey said that although those involved in the investigation continued to keep an open mind about what led to the tragedy, the ‘working hypothesis’ remained that a gas explosion was the cause.