POLICE officers from Dyfed-Powys have been praised for their support and doing the basics brilliantly in Salisbury after the poisoning of Sergei Skripel and his daughter, on March 4.
A consort of five officers spent 15 days in Salisbury providing support to Wiltshire Police, along with 36 other forces from throughout the UK.
PC Jamie Lang, who is usually stationed at Whitland, PC Nick Rice of ICAT in HQ, PC Becky Butler, of Cardigan, PC Dion Parsons, of Carmarthen and PC Simon Gibbard-Jones, of Ammanford, all put themselves forward to provide mutual aid for Wiltshire Police.
They were responsible for guarding the cordon at the street where Skripel lived. They dealt with national and international media, provided reassurance to the local community and took the time to get to know the residents.
In response to the officers’ kindness the community looked after them. It snowed heavily during their time at Salisbury and residents provided them with hot drinks, cakes and blankets.
PC Jamie Lang said: “The local residents were terrified after the incident. They didn’t know what was going on or if they were safe and we were able to help by passing on key information and taking the time to get to know them. We made a difficult time more bearable.
“We did what we would normally do at home. We chatted to them, made a fuss of the school children who walked past us every day, helped people wherever we could and kept them informed.
“We were only meant to stay for a week but we were asked to stay for another week. The local residents asked for us specifically.”
Since returning to their usual duties, Chief Constable Mark Collins has received a number of thank you letters from Wiltshire residents and the Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police praising the way they worked with the local community.
Chief Constable Mark Collins said: “It fills me with pride to receive thanks for the work Dyfed-Powys officers carried out during their time in Salisbury. I have personally thanked them for their efforts, which they deemed as ‘just doing their job’.
“To me, this national recognition for these officers demonstrates how they have fulfilled one of my top priorities – doing the basics brilliantly. Engaging with the public, reassuring them at a difficult time and enabling them to feel safe in their own community, is what should be at the core of all policing.”
One resident said: “All five of your officers have been not only consummate professionals, but have brought with them kindness, compassion and above all, humour to our close when we have needed it most.”
Another said: “I would be proud to have such officers under me during the events here in Salisbury. I couldn’t have wished for a finer set of police officers.”
One resident said in a letter to the Chief Constable: “I cannot thank you enough for sending us such wonderful police officers. They made this situation so much more bearable and kept us calm and informed when we arrived back home. They also went above and beyond their duty by carrying shopping, taking our bins to the end of the road as the lorry couldn’t get into the close etc. they have been professional, caring and also a fantastic sense of humour, which has lifted us all.”