Police officer remembers the 'strangeness' of the Salisbury Novichok attack

PA - police in protective suits working near to the scene in Salisbury
Police in protective suits working near to the scene in Salisbury Credit: PA

A police officer who worked on the recovery after the Salisbury Novichok attack said the "strangeness" of that time is his enduring memory of it.

Superintendent Dave Minty of Wiltshire Police picked up the Queen's Police Medal at Windsor Castle in recognition of his work in the aftermath of the incident.

Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were left fighting for their lives in March 2018 when members of a Russian military intelligence squad are believed to have smeared the deadly chemical weapon on Mr Skripal's door handle.

Ex-police officer Nick Bailey was one of the officers investigating the case and also became seriously ill.

It's believed the deadly chemical weapon was smeared on Mr Skripal's door handle. Credit: PA

Months later, 44-year-old Dawn Sturgess died and her partner Charlie Rowley became seriously ill after they also came into contact with the substance.

Supt Minty, who chaired a tactical coordinating group after the attack, said that to be recognised for his work is "a real honour", adding that he was "one of many people" who were involved.

Reflecting on what stands out most from that time, he said: "I guess just the strangeness of it.

"I live and work in Salisbury in Wiltshire. Those sorts of things don't generally happen in Salisbury in Wiltshire.

"They happen in London. So I guess that was the strangeness of it and then just how everyone, genuinely everyone, worked together to make sure that the community were as safe as possible.

"I've come away with some really strong friendships with people I probably wouldn't have met if it hadn't been for the incident."

Superintendent Dave Minty of Wiltshire Police was given the Queen's Police Medal at Windsor Castle. Credit: PA

Talking about a return to more typical duties, Supt Minty said: "I think it's nice to be back doing what we normally do.

"Unfortunately obviously Dawn lost her life so it was a tragic incident, but it was different and it was a challenge for us.

"But, yeah, to not be facing that sort of pressure on a daily basis, it's been quite nice to get back to my normal day job."

Supt Minty, 46, received his gong from the Princess Royal on Wednesday afternoon.