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  1. ITV Report

Police officer seriously ill after nerve agent attack

Statement on the evolving investigation when a man and woman taken ill on Sunday afternoon in Salisbury. We have declared a major incident involving attempted murder by a nerve agent - as you know these two people remain critically ill in hospital.

Sadly in addition a police officer, first to attend the incident, is now also in a serious condition in hospital. Wiltshire police are supporting his family. We are now in a position to confirm there are symptoms as a result of exposure to a nerve agent.

I will not at this stage give any further information about the exact details of this substance that has been identified.

We are working closely with specialists and scientists including Public Health England. Of course, public safety remains our number one priority.

I know local people will be concerned but at this stage, but we do not think the public will be at risk.

Having established a nerve agent is the cause of the symptoms, we are treating this as attempted murder . I can now confirm the two people who originally became unwell WERE TARGETED SPECIFICALLY. Our role now is to establish who is behind this and why they carried out this attack.

We have hundreds of detectives and specialists, analysts and intelligence officers examining 100s hours of CCTV and detailed timeline.

Specialist officers in protective clothing will be visible round Salisbury as they work - it's a sensible precaution and shouldn't alarm the community. We do have specialist procedures for chemical incidents.

We need to be painstaking and thorough to protect public safety and gather maximum amount of evidence - indeed work in Salisbury may take several days.

We thank the public for their help.

– Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley