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Novichok incidents add to ‘extraordinary’ demands facing police – commissioner

Angus Macpherson told Policing Minister Nick Hurd that a ‘different approach’ needed exploring to address the ‘increased pressure’ on resources.

The policing minister has been told of the “extraordinary level of demand” on resources in Wiltshire in the wake of the nerve agent poisonings.

Angus Macpherson, the police and crime commissioner for the county, raised the issue with Nick Hurd to ensure the “increased pressure” was addressed.

Mr Macpherson referenced major events – the visit by US President Donald Trump and the Royal International Air Tattoo – and continuing incidents in Salisbury and Amesbury as contributing factors, saying a “different approach” needed exploring.

Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson at a press conference in Salisbury after the nerve agent attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal in March (Andrew Matthews/PA)

He said: “He (Mr Hurd) has reassured me that the current approach to policing cordons, in relation to the ongoing major incidents in Amesbury and Salisbury, is under review to help me ensure that policing services more widely across Wiltshire and Swindon remain unaffected.

“Wiltshire Police has received great support from almost every police force across the country since the first major incident was declared in March.

With more and more rest days being cancelled and annual leave requests being put on hold, we must now explore a different approach Angus Macpherson

“Alongside the Chief Constable, I couldn’t be more grateful for the help and support of those forces. However, with more and more rest days being cancelled and annual leave requests being put on hold, we must now explore a different approach.”

Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with Novichok in Salisbury in March.

Charlie Rowley, 45, remains seriously ill in hospital, and his partner, Dawn Sturgess, 44, died after the pair collapsed at his home in Amesbury on June 30, having been exposed to the nerve agent.

On Thursday night, emergency services were called to the scene near the Zizzi restaurant, where the Skripals had lunch before they fell ill.

Wiltshire Police said they were “taking highly precautionary measures” in dealing with an incident involving a man in his 30s because of the ongoing situation in the city.

But after the section of Castle Street was reopened on Thursday night, the force said: “We can now confirm that there is no concern for either his health or any wider risk to the public.”


From Belfast Telegraph