ALL of the 39 people found in the lorry have now been moved from Tilbury Docks to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford.
The process to identify them and where they are from is continuing. This process works in tandem to the investigative process – as police look to both identify those who have died and identify and preserve any forensic evidence so that we can achieve justice for each of these victims and their loved ones.
This is the largest mass fatality victim identification process in the history of Essex Police.
Police are using internationally-recognised standards of identification to identify the deceased. These are known as the INTERPOL Disaster Victim Identification Standards.
Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) is the internationally accepted term for the processes and procedures for recovering and identifying deceased people and human remains in multiple fatality incidents.
The process involves bringing together antemortem and postmortem information to make a positive identification by scientific means in a dignified manner, taking into account the needs of the investigation process, the needs of the bereaved and the needs of the community.
Victims are identified where possible, by at least one of the primary identification methods which are dental comparison, fingerprints and DNA.
Other, secondary, identification features are also taken into consideration, such as tattoos and scars. Supporting information to consider can include jewellery, clothing or property.
Once a preliminary identification has been made, trained liaison officers are deployed to support families.
These processes take place in conjunction with the Essex Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray. Both Essex Police and the coroner are committed to working as quickly as possible to identify people and repatriate them to their families.
Every victim a forensic scene. Officers are meticulously processing all the property that was with the victims and in the lorry and every item has an individual record made of it.
There are 39 victims and each appears to have a bag of some description, clothes, and other belongings.
So far we have over 500 exhibits, including mobile phones which have to be downloaded and the interrogation of mobile phones will be important for identifying the victims but also assisting the wider investigation – this needs to be done in forensic way so it will pass the evidential process for court later.
As in any instance where a mass fatality has unfolded we cannot predict how long this process will take.
Senior Identification Manager Detective Chief Inspector Martin Pasmore said:
“We are working hard to understand how the 39 victims of this tragic incident have died and to identify all those involved.
“We remain open minded as to nationalities of those who have died. We are asking anyone who may have information that may assist us in identification to come forward to us.
“If you come to us, we will do all we can to put our arm around you and take you through this process, and establish as quickly as possible whether or not we have your loved involved in this tragic incident, and try and reunite you.
“It may well be people are here illegally and they want to come forward with information or concerns, particularly if they believe their loved one is involved. We want to identify their loved ones and reunite but they are frightened.
“We understand some people may be frightened but I hope people will put trust in me and make that leap of faith – Essex Police will not look to take any action against you.
“Please make contact with my team by reporting information through our portal https://mipp.police.uk or contact our dedicated hotline on 0800 056 0944 if you live in the UK and 0044 207 158 0010 if you’re dialling internationally.
“Our thoughts remain with all those so affected by this tragedy.”