THE multi-agency response operation led by Wiltshire Police following the Novichok poisonings in Salisbury has been nominated for a World Class Policing Award.

The Wiltshire Local Resilience Forum Strategic Coordinating Group, which was chaired by Deputy Chief Constable Paul Mills, has been named as one of the finalists at the inaugural World Class Policing Awards, which will be held in London tomorrow (November 14).

The Novichok poisonings of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March 2018, and the subsequent poisonings of local residents Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess attracted global attention and scrutiny.

The two incidents saw one the biggest partnership operations ever undertaken and local and national organisations came together to manage the potential risks to public health. Such a response had never previously been undertaken anywhere in the world.

The Wiltshire & Swindon Local Resilience Forum Strategic Coordinating Group, in collaboration with partners, worked to preserve public safety, reassure the public, and assist the ongoing murder investigation led by the Counter Terrorism Network.

At its height, the group consisted of 26 different partner agencies including Wiltshire Police, Wiltshire Council, Ministry of Defence, DSTL, NHS, Salisbury District Hospital Trust, South Western Ambulance Service (NHS Foundation Trust), NHS England and Government Agencies - DEFRA, Public Health England, Environment Agency and Public Health Wiltshire.

DCC Mills said: "This was a completely unprecedented set of incidents which required a unique multi-agency approach."

"Over six months, the SCG developed an approach to the public health risks which had never before been encountered anywhere in the world.

"Through the tireless work of partners within the SCG during the response phase, the risk and wider threat to the public was managed. The agent used in this attack was almost entirely unknown, which meant the SCG was required to bring together the scientific community alongside the local and national government agencies to deal with the attacks.

"Being nominated for this award is recognition of the unflinching dedication shown by all partners involved in the response to these attacks.

"Although this shortlisting is positive recognition for us and partner agencies, it is also important that we continue to reflect on the impact these incidents had on our communities and that Dawn Sturgess tragically lost her life as a result."

The World Class Policing Awards received over 100 entries which have been judged against specific criteria by an expert panel consisting of senior police stakeholders.