Counter-terrorism police based at Scotland Yard have taken the lead on an investigation into the suspected poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in Salisbury.
Emergency services, including Wiltshire Air Ambulance, were called The Maltings at around 4.15pm on 4 March, after concerns were raised for the welfare of a man and a woman.
Their admission to hospital led to a major incident which has seen A&E closed on Monday morning, with specialist ambulance crews and firefighters working to decontaminating the area.
They are currently being treated for suspected exposure to an unknown substance, and both remain in a critical condition in intensive care.
Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, the head of Counter Terrorism Policing, said: “The focus at this time is to establish what has caused these people to become critically ill.
“We would like to reassure members of the public that this incident is being taken extremely seriously and we currently do not believe there is any risk immediate to the wider public.
“We continue to appeal to any members of the public who may have information in relation to this incident to contact police immediately on 999.”
During a press conference held at Devizes police headquarters, Wiltshire Police’s Temporary Chief Constable reassure the public, stating that “there doesn’t appear to be any immediate risk to the public”.
This afternoon, Temporary Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police Kier Pritchard said: “This has been a fast paced investigation and our focus has been on trying to establish what has caused these people to become critically ill and whether or not any criminal activity has taken place.
“Since Sunday, we have had access to a wide range of specialist resources and services that have been working alongside us.
“You will be aware that this afternoon, the Metropolitan Police have confirmed that, due to the unusual circumstances, the Counter Terrorism network will now be leading this investigation, as it has the specialist expertise to do so.
“It is important to reiterate that they have not declared it as a terrorist incident and at this stage they are keeping an open mind as to what happened.
“The advice from Public Health England remains that, based on the evidence to date, currently there doesn’t appear to be any immediate risk to the public.
“We can confirm that a small number of emergency services personnel, including some police officers and staff, were assessed immediately after the incident.
“I would like to sincerely thank members of the public for their continued assistance and for respecting the cordons which remain in place in and around the Salisbury area.
“I would also like to thank our partners, staff from supporting agencies and our officers, staff and volunteers for their dedication and hard work over the last few days.”
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