THE Home Secretary praised resilient Salisbury residents who "are not cowed" by events this week during a visit to the city this morning.

Amber Rudd visited the police cordon still in place at the Maltings before meeting representatives from Wiltshire Police, Salisbury City Council and local business leaders.

In an exclusive interview with the Journal, Ms Rudd said: "It was really good to hear from them about the resilience of Salisbury people and that they didn’t think that it was going to impact on Salisbury itself, which is very much open for business in terms of ongoing trade and activity.

"The people of Salisbury are not cowed by this. They all want to get on and show that they’re going to carry on with their business, trade and family lives."

The Home Secretary also met first responders who tended to Sergei and Yulia Skripal when they were found unconscious on a bench in the city on Sunday afternoon.

She said the responders to the incident had told her that something about the scene, which police initially believed to be drugs related, "didn't feel quite right".

"It didn’t stop them for a minute from doing the right thing, making sure that precautions were immediately taken to protect the victims and making sure they secured the site in a professional way," Ms Rudd said.

Ms Rudd said she was visiting Salisbury, which she dubbed "a fantastic city", to see how the major incident had been dealt with and see that those involved were "getting the right support that they need", adding: "As the Home Secretary, it is my job to ensure that people are kept safe."

She said Temporary Chief Constable Kier Pritchard had been "very frank" in taking her through the protocols carried out.

"It really looks like it went absolutely as you would expect and hope for," Ms Rudd said.

"Really, I’ve seen incredibly professional, compassionate, sympathetic behaviour."

Ms Rudd also visited Salisbury District Hospital, where she met Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, who is in a serious condition after coming into contact with a nerve agent used to poison the former Russian spy.

"Of course, like everybody else, I'm very concerned for him," she said.

Ms Rudd said the events in the city this week were "an incredibly rare occurrence".

But she said incidents over the past year, which include five terror attacks in the UK, made clear "we are living in a world that has people around who do want to deliver nasty attacks on us".

"I can reassure the people of Salisbury that the chief medical officer has said that the general risk is now low and that they are very well protected by fantastic police and emergency services," Ms Rudd said.

She also praised MP John Glen, who she said was "an advocate and a champion for Salisbury".

And she said it was "too early to reach conclusions" about whether Sergei Skripal, a former double agent who has been living in the UK since 2010, should have had more protection from the government.

"The key thing for me here is I know people want to speculate around that, and I sympathise with that, but I’ve got to make sure that the incident is properly investigated.

"Right now, I need to make sure that the investigation continues and is done in a way that gives us a really clear picture of what happened and where and why, that’s the best way to keep people safe in the future."