May 21 2013 Latest news:
Sarah Shaffi, Olympics editor (news)
Friday, May 25, 2012
»Two police officers have swapped their beats in Haringey for a coveted role protecting the Olympic Flame during the torch relay around the country.
The Met Police’s torch security team (TST) is made up of around 70 staff and officers, with 35 of these running alongside the Torch.
Among the team are Sgt Joanne Lewis, known as Jo to colleagues, and Pc Victoria Walker.
Sgt Lewis has most recently served in Haringey on a response team dealing with 999 calls. She joined the Met Police in 2002 in Camden, before moving into a specialist role investigating rape and serious sexual offences.
The 30-year-old is a keen sportswoman and is looking forward to watching the synchronised swimming when the Olympics start.
She said: “I am looking forward to people welcoming the Torch and the start of the Olympics. It will be a great atmosphere as people will be very patriotic and excited. The Olympics is a fantastic platform to unite and bring people together through sport. To be a part of it all is a once in a lifetime experience – one I will probably never forget.”
Pc Walker most recently served as a safer transport patrol officer in Haringey. She will be policing every fourth day of the relay.
The 38-year-old said: “I am really looking forward to putting into practice all that I have learnt over the past 18 months. London 2012 is going to be so special and will rejuvenate sport in the UK.”
She added: “Never underestimate what sport can do – it can change lives. In my job as a police officer I have had the opportunity to witness the difference in young people when they get involved in a sport; it gives them a focus and direction and can completely change their lives around.
“I really do hope that the Games will encourage as many people as possible to realise the benefit of sport.”
The team of officers will each run up to 30 miles per day.
They were chosen from 664 applications and had an eight-month selection process, which included practical and written assessments, covering fitness, leadership, team building and communication skills.
They are pictured here wearing charcoal running suits featuring the Met Police crest on the front right-hand side of the top. The only equipment they will carry is a police radio.
The TST will be responsible for the safety and security of the Olympic and Paralympic Flames, and the immediate protection of the torchbearer holding the Flame.
A minimum of three officers will keep pace with the torch bearer, forming a protective bubble around them.
They will remain with the Flame until it arrives in the Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremony on July 27.
In addition to the runners, the team includes motorcyclists, senior officers, communications officers and operational planners.