James Brokenshire has said that security preparations for the Olympic Torch Relay will leave “nothing to chance” after watching the final training session for the special police team which will follow the Torch.
The Olympic Torch arrives in the UK on 18 May and will embark on a 70 day tour of the country - including a special event in Bexley - before arriving at the Olympic Stadium on 27 July for the opening ceremony.
The Torch will be accompanied on its journey by a 69 strong policing team.The team was selected in December 2010 following an eight month selection process and are drawn from a range of policing roles including borough policing, CID, diplomatic protection group, traffic and airports.
The team, not all on duty at the same time, will cover a number of roles on a 24-hour seven-day a week basis, including escorts, traffic officers, senior officers in tactical command and event planners.
James Brokenshire – the Home Office Minister for Crime and Security – saw the team being put through their paces at the Metropolitan Police training centre in Hendon on Friday and even got to take part in the training session by acting as one of the torch bearers during one of the exercises.
Commenting James said:
“The arrival of the Olympic Torch is really the beginning of the Games and an opportunity for the country to get involved and start to experience the Olympic spirit. I think the Torch Relay will be a fantastic event in its own right, bringing communities together and recognising so many inspiring people.
“We want to ensure the Torch Relay passes off peacefully and is remembered for the celebrations it brings and not as a security exercise. I am confident that the team the police have put in place will deliver a peaceful and successful Torch Relay as it tours the UK.”