London 2012: Islington officers part of Olympic Torch security team
�Police officers in Islington are among the special team protecting the Olympic Flame during the torch relay.
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.
Traditionally it is the responsibility of the host city’s police force to guard the Flame and it is written into the host city’s contract.
Among the team are Pc Barry Hart, Pc Sakira Suzia, Pc Giles Dainty and Sgt Derek Wright.
Pc Suzia, 28, whose sister carried the Torch in the 2004 Games in Athens, said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of something that’s happening, right on my doorstep, something that actually has the ability to inspire change in both people and places.
“The Olympics brings together the whole world and it’s a privilege to be part of something that’s about uniting people through sport.
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“I can’t wait to set off from Land’s End, knowing that even in some small way I am helping make someone’s dreams come true.”
Pc Hart started his career with the City of London Police before transferring to the Met Police in 2005.
He currently works in the Islington Community Safety Unit dealing with domestic violence cases.
The 35-year-old said: “I applied to be a part of the TST as it is a unique job; there is nothing quite like it and it will be a great opportunity to meet all kinds of people with their own inspirational stories as to why they were chosen to carry the Torch.
“As a child I used to run for an athletics club and I always dreamed of participating in the Olympics. Life didn’t work out that way but being part of the TST and escorting the Torch around the UK is probably the next best thing.
Pc Dainty used to police the streets of Islington and is now an officer on the Territorial Support Group (TSG). The 33-year-old will be policing the relay every four days and will be running through parts of Newcastle and London.
He said: “My sister brought me a limited edition print of the Olympic creed and it really hit home what the Olympics is all about. There will be a great atmosphere come Games-time and I’m really looking forward to it.”
PS Wright, 35, tackles local crime initiatives in Islington as part of the Proactive Crime Squad.
He said: “The Olympic and Paralympic Games are the biggest sporting events in the world. It’s going to be a really fantastic time in London and the country as a whole.
“I’m just pleased and excited that I have this opportunity to be part of it.”
The TST started its duties when the Flame was handed to the London 2012 delegation in Athens
It will be responsible for the safety and security of the Olympic and Paralympic Flames, and the immediate protection of the torchbearer.
The team will remain with the Flame until it arrives in the Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremony on July 27, and will also travel with the Paralympic Flame.
A minimum of three TST escorts will keep a pace with the torch bearer.
Officers will travel on a range of modes of transport and run up to 30 miles a day.
The team of officers were chosen from 664 applications in 2010.
There was an eight month selection process, which included practical and written assessments, covering fitness, leadership, team building and communication skills.
Officers have been trained in self defence, first aid, communication and media handling.
They will be wearing charcoal running suits, with the MPS crest on the front right hand side of the top.