Officer guards Her Majesty’s baton during Commonwealth relay
Main article content
An officer from Staffordshire Police has taken part in Queen’s Baton Relay ahead of the Commonwealth Games due to begin in Birmingham later this year.
PC Jonathan Vernon, a response officer based at Cannock Police Station, successfully applied to be part of the police relay team in May last year, finding out he had made the cut on his daughter’s birthday in December.
Police in the UK will follow the baton as it nears the end of it's 90,000 mile journey across the Commonwealth.
More than 7,500 baton bearers will carry the baton before it concludes its journey, spanning 72 nations and territories, at the opening of the Commonwealth Games on 28 July.
As part of the training to be part of the baton guards, PC Vernon had to complete various bleep tests, assessments and personal training sessions.
“I’ve always been a keen runner, but this was gruelling,” the PC said.
Since passing his bleep test with an impressive figure of 9.6, PC Vernon and a team of West Midlands officers each ran alongside the baton on its route through Scotland - including Loch Ness, Dumfries House and Calton Hill from 16 to 23 June.
Pc Vernon said: “It was really refreshing to get the opportunity to chat with the baton bearers and the local communities whilst we were in Scotland.
“The spectators and athletes were very enthusiastic and appreciated our efforts to keep people safe during the baton’s route through the country.
“Being involved in this has reminded me of how proud I am to be a police officer.
“It’s certainly a change from my usual policing duties and it’s something which I can certainly look back on as a career highlight.”
Following his run through Scotland, the PC is now due to accompany the baton through Exeter on 3 July, until it concludes its journey at the opening of the Games in Birmingham on 28 July.
He said: “I can’t wait to get my running shoes on again and follow the baton on its epic travels!”