THE police officer who was poisoned in the Salisbury Novichok attack and almost died has announced he’s leaving the Wiltshire force.

Det Sgt Nick Bailey was among the officers who responded to the poisonings in 2018 and fell ill after coming into contact with the nerve agent.

Sharing the news on Twitter, 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.

"Policing will remain in my heart and I feel honoured and privileged to have been part of Wiltshire Police. I am so grateful for the opportunities that they’ve given me, and the support that I’ve received. We’ve all seen that the ‘Policing family’ very much exists and in the current climate it’s more important now than ever.

"To all those in the Police, I salute you. Keep fighting the good fight, I’m just sorry that I’ve made the thin blue line that little bit thinner. Be proud of what you do and know that you make a positive difference to so many people. But for me, it’s time for a change. 1772: off duty.”

Earlier this year Det Sgt Bailey raised more than £20,000 for Salisbury District Hospital to thank the staff who looked after him.

Mark Andrews, chairman of Wiltshire Police Federation, said: “It’s really sad for me personally to hear of Nick’s leaving. Nick was the victim of a terrible crime, he is a personal friend of mine and a valued colleague of ours at Wiltshire Police Federation. I know he’ll be missed by every police officer who he has come into contact with through his service. 

“What happened to Nick is unprecedented and I hope will never happen to any other police officer or any other British citizen again. I can only hope that one day the offenders will be brought to justice and Nick will be able to rest knowing that.”

Mark added: “I’ve always been impressed with how Nick and his family managed what they went through. I know both physically and mentally it’s been tough, but Nick showed the real resilience of an excellent police officer by continuing to fight.

“He showed this in the money he has raised for Salisbury Hospital doing his half marathons and the support he has given to his colleagues who also went through this incident. I’m very proud of how he’s behaved, I’m very proud of him and I’m very proud of how his family have got him through. We wish Nick and his family all the very best.”

Chief Constable Kier Pritchard: “I have known and respected Nick for many years as a dedicated colleague and detective.

"Understandably, Nick and his family’s lives was turned upside down following the events in Salisbury back in March 2018.

“Nick was one of the first officers involved in this incident when he was exposed to the lethal nerve agent Novichok.

“These shocking and unprecedented events changed his life and his family’s lives significantly.

“It is impossible for any of us to fully understand the impact this event has had on Nick and his family, and the sacrifices they made in trying to come to terms with the situation.

“Nick’s commitment to the service has never been questioned and this was further illustrated by him making several attempts to return to full duties.

“He represents the dedication and determination that all of us want to see in police officers across the country. Day in and day out, officers put themselves directly into harm’s way in order to help and protect others.

“Nick should be incredibly proud of all that he has achieved and will always be considered to be part of the Wiltshire Police family.

“I am sure that as one chapter closes, another opportunity will open up for Nick.

“He has been an outstanding officer and I wish him and his family the greatest success for their future.”