As an officer for the Scotland Yard, this assignment sounds like a dream come true: Forget your regular duties for 70 days and travel throughout Britain with the Olympic torch in the run-up to the 2012 London Games. But the officers hand-picked for the once-in-a-lifetime assignment will receive psychological counseling when the fun and games are over, officials say. The officers will consult with psychologists, doctors, and physiotherapists in a series of debriefings to help them cope with the readjustment back to their normal lives and mundane regular duties.
The 28 officers, plus eight in reserve who will be ready to step up in case of injury or illness, are charged with protecting the torch from fanatics and extremists during its 8,000-mile journey throughout much of the United Kingdom. The route will take them through major cities and remote areas and to Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, and Jersey. The officers will also be expected to be in good enough physical condition to run alongside the torchbearers when necessary.