A police officer who fell seriously ill after being poisoned in the Salisbury Novichok attack is still fighting for "part of his pension" after leaving the force, his wife has said.
Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey was the first person to enter the home of Sergei Skripal after the Russian Double agent and his daughter were found poisoned in 2018.
He left the county's police force after 18 years in October and his wife Sarah tweeted 'Nick retired seven weeks ago and he's still fighting for part of his pension'.
She was responding to comments made by the chairman of Wiltshire Police Federation about the nerve agent attack and its “biggest ongoing welfare operation”.
Mark Andrews wrote in the December issue of the federation’s Police magazine: “We … helped Nick to get the compensation package he deserved and supported him with insurance and his legal claim for injury at work.”
He added that Ds Bailey would receive support “for as long as he needs it”.
Mrs Bailey said: “Not quite sure where to start with this. Compensation package? injury on duty pay out? Nick retired 7 weeks ago and he’s still fighting for part of his pension. You even said he resigned. Not the case at all, he’s been medically retired!”
Ds Bailey made three attempts to go back to work, the latest in June this year, and described how he “couldn’t deal with being in a police environment” after efforts to return in September 2018 and in January 2019.
Announcing he was leaving the force in October in a series of tweets, he said: “After 18 years in the Police Force I’ve had to admit defeat and accept that I can no longer do the job.
“I wanted to be a Police Officer since I was a teenager, I couldn’t envisage doing anything else, which is why this makes me so sad.
“Like most Police Officers, I’ve experienced my fair share of trauma, violence, upset, injury and grief.
“We deal with it, take it on the chin and keep going because that’s our job. But we’re still human and the impact this has shouldn’t be underestimated.
“The events in Salisbury in March 2018 took so much from me and although I’ve tried so hard to make it work, I know that I won’t find peace whilst remaining in that environment.”
Statement from Wiltshire Police:
"Since Nick Bailey found himself at the centre of the Novichok international incident, Wiltshire Police has worked with him and his family to provide continuing support and assistance to help them deal with the impact of this unprecedented incident and assist him to try and return to active police duties.
"It was with great sadness that regrettably this was not possible and Nick was medically retired from the Force in Oct 2020 with our very best wishes for the future.
"When any officer retires on medical grounds from the police service, there is national legislation that governs the process to ensure that officers in these circumstances are suitably independently assessed by medical practitioners from outside of policing, such that an appropriate assessment can be made of their needs going forward.
"This process is made up of two distinct parts. The first is completed prior to the officer retiring and based on an independent medical assessment and sets the officers basic medical retirement entitlements. Only after this stage is complete, will an officer medically retire from the service and immediately receive their assessed medical pension.
"The second part is undertaken, in addition, where an officer retires further to an injury on duty. In these circumstances an additional independent medical assessment is undertaken and the medical practitioner classifies the level of award that an officer should be entitled to.
"As with all such processes, there is a right of appeal at each stage for the officer concerned which may be exercised where appropriate. The entire process is conducted outside of the employing Force, to ensure that it is led and informed by independent medical assessment."
The Skripals survived the attack but the incident later claimed the life of Dawn Sturgess after she came into contact with a perfume bottle believed to have been used in the attack and then discarded.
Her partner, Charlie Rowley, was left seriously ill but recovered.
Two Russian nationals have been accused of travelling to the UK to try to murder Mr Skripal with Novichok.