THE Wiltshire Police officer taken to hospital after a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in Salisbury is now “talking and engaging”, according to the Home Secretary.

The officer, who has not been named, is said to have been one of the first on the scene after the discovery of Sergei and Yulia Skripal on a park bench at the Maltings on Sunday.

Amber Rudd spoke to ITV’s Good Morning Britain today after it emerged yesterday that the officer was in a serious condition and receiving intensive care.

Ms Rudd said: “I've spoken to Mark Rowley this morning. The two targets are still in very serious condition.

“The policeman is talking and is engaging, so I'm more optimistic for him, but it's too early to say. This is a nerve agent. You know, we are still treating it as very serious.”

She added that she was "hopeful" that the police officer would make a recovery.

Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, are still in a very serious condition following the attack.

Met Police chief Mark Rowley revealed yesterday that the pair were “targeted specifically” and the incident is now being classed as attempted murder. 

Mr Rowley added that the officer’s family is now receiving support from Wiltshire Police.

Temporary Chief Constable Kier Pritchard said: "Our thoughts are also with him, his family and friends. I recognise colleagues in Wiltshire Police will be deeply affected by this and we will provide support to those affected."