PART of the Olympic Torch security team will be West Sussex based PC Simone Gibson.
As towns and communities across the UK begin the countdown to welcoming the Torch Relay through their streets, the Metropolitan Police Service’s (MPS) specialist Torch Security Team (TST) is in its final days of preparation ahead of the torch being brought into the UK on Friday May 18.
For the TST team, known as “the runners,” next week brings to an end, 18 months of grueling training and final preparations to embark on what will be a unique role in British policing.
The runners are one element of the wider torch security team, which includes motorcyclists, pedal cyclists, senior officers and operational planners, who will ensure the integrity, safety and security of the Olympic and Paralympic Flames, plus the immediate protection of the Torch Bearer holding that flame.
The team will travel with the Olympic Flame, from the moment it leaves Land’s End until it arrives at the Olympic Stadium for the Opening Ceremony.
PC Gibson, aged 50, has been a serving officer for 18 years, and is currently an officer within the Safer Transport Command. She was chosen to take on this challenge from an initial 664 applicants and following an eight month selection process.
Prior to becoming a police officer Simone was a flight attendant and a theatre nurse for 14 years.
Simone will be policing various legs of the relay and is hoping to run through either her current home county of West Sussex or through Camberwell, London where she is originally from.
Numerous hours have gone into preparing for the role, and outside of work Simone has continued to maintain her own training both mentally and physically by walking, doing gym classes, meditating and running for her local running club. In addition to this Simone is also a volunteer with the RSPCA, where once a week she walks the dogs, which she finds very therapeutic and contributes to her weekly work out.
She thoroughly enjoys running and this is what led her to apply to be a part of the TST. Simone is a former member of the Brighton and Hove women’s running club and has also taken part inseveralBritish Military Fitness runs.
Simone’s friends and family are very excited that she has been chosen to escort the torch around the country and she is hoping that her mum especially will be able to catch a glimpse of her on TV.
PC Simone Gibson said:”I applied to be a part of the TST as running is my hobby and my passion. I enjoy meeting new people and I am really looking forward to meeting some of the 8000 torchbearers who have been chosen. This is a completely different role to my day to day job and I’m still pinching myself that I will be a part of something so spectacular.”