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Safety and security with a smile

30 Police Scotland officers accompanied the baton throughout its travels in Scotland. Here, five officers share their Queen's Baton Relay experiences.

With their cheerful approach to supporting the Queen's Baton Relay, they were the first people to whip up some cheers for the baton bearers. They became an integral part of the relay in Scotland. The batonbearers were the stars of the show and Police Scotland were a fantastic supporting cast!

DC Frank McDermott

Sitting at my desk in Aberdeen and getting back into the daily slog of CID work I find myself looking back on the best eight weeks of my Police career and think, did that really happen?

About a year ago when I applied to be one of the Security Escort Team (SET) for the Queens Baton Relay I had no idea what to expect.  I saw it as an opportunity to take part in something different.  I had no idea it would be so much fun.

I've been asked to reflect on my highlights. It would take me days to list them all.  The following are just some which immediately spring to mind.

  • The number of screaming children who lined the routes all over the country waving flags and holding out their hands for high-fives.
  • The wheelchair user carrying the baton in Ballantrae who was doing wheelies while shouting about Scottish freedom.
  • Meeting 13 year old Erraid Davies in Shetland. (Little did we know that she was about to become a global star with her beautiful smile lighting up Glasgow 2014).
  • My QBR roommate realising that the Glasgow 2014 mascot Clyde is actually a thistle and not a celery stick. (Don't worry PC Mikey Heath I won't tell anyone it was you).
  • Sergeant Lynne Steele, the QBR dancing queen, doing her moves whilst the choir sang outside the lifeboat station in Buckie.
  • The escort runners and the Inverness flexible policing team getting into the spirit of Community Engagement with a midnight swim in Shetland.
  • The atmosphere in the fan park at Glasgow Green during the opening ceremony.

The main highlight however was the batonbearers.  Ordinary people who live extraordinary lives and give so much of themselves to help others and their communities.

QBR was the experience of a lifetime. Many colleagues have commented to me about how lucky I was to be on that "jolly".  All of the SET officers know we were extremely fortunate to have been afforded that opportunity.  The QBR was the easy part. It's the reintegration into our Police Scotland roles which will be the hard part.

PC Diane Lauder

Being part of the Security Escort Team was undoubtedly the best thing I have ever done in my Police career and likely to do.  My memories are of happy people; baton bearers, their family and friends, the public supporting, and police officers.  I have been honoured to hear some inspiring stories from a number of the baton bearers who were humble and had to be probed to tell all, it was certainly a different kind of probing than suspect interviews and brought with it some moving revelations.  All the baton bearers were unique but equally deserving of their moment carrying the baton and I learned that I maybe need to appreciate what I have more and feel it has made me have a more positive outlook.

I got to see parts of Scotland that I had never visited before and meet new communities and realise that the Scottish people are very friendly, welcoming and I proud to work and live here.

Finally, the moment that I will always stay with me was my visit to Yorkhill Hospital, it was emotional to see those young faces in isolation rooms, we put a smile on their face just by showing them the baton and I am privileged that I was given the opportunity brighten up their day in some way.

PC Ian Campbell

After a domestic journey of 4000km throughout all 32 local authorities, visiting 450 villages, towns and cities over 40 days, the Queen's baton was delivered to Celtic Park Glasgow on the 23rd July 2014 to mark the start of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. This was a very proud moment for the whole Queen's Baton relay team after an exciting 40 days travelling throughout the country meeting some truly inspirational people.

My personal highlights during this journey were meeting all the baton bearers and listening to each and every one of their amazing stories about why they were nominated. I felt so humbled to be in the presence of these extraordinary people. I then had the honour of running beside them as they completed their individual leg.

I was amazed to see each community come out in force, come rain or shine, to cheer on each of the baton bearers. The atmosphere in all the villages, towns and cities was amazing and made me very proud to be Scottish.

It was a great privileged to be part of the Queen's Baton Relay team and the memories of this once in a lifetime experience will last with me forever.

PC Jonathan MacKinnon

Upon reflecting on my Queens Baton Relay experience, I have come to realise that it was the thousands of people who turned out each day to see the baton that made the whole experience so memorable for me. The positive atmosphere they created was truly fantastic as people of all ages showed their support for the relay as the baton travelled through Scotland’s diverse communities.

Most importantly, I found the opportunity to speak with the many baton bearers a truly humbling and inspirational experience as they relayed to me and my colleagues how they have contributed to their local community, how they have impacted in a positive manner on the lives of others or how they have personally overcome extreme adversity.

Unfortunately, I have too many “favourite moments” of the relay to talk about here however, it was an absolute pleasure to share my favourite moments with the other security escort runners many of whom I had never met before the whole experience started. The camaraderie was awesome and the strong friendships I have forged with these individuals will stand for many years to come. You all know who you are!!!

PC Simon Daley

The days have blended now, towns mix with towns, villages with streets in cities.  The people remain real and individual but with one common feature more than any other - their smiles.  We met baton bearers from all walks of life, young, old, black, white, gay, straight and without exception they all smiled.  Some smiled through pain, some with relief at making it the 200 metres.  One or two could only smile with their eyes, they shone, a lovely, defiant and genuine smile.   Most had family and/or supporters with them, a few ran alone, far from home and they grinned like it was the best experience they'd ever had. Sometimes it's good to concentrate on what we have in common rather than what makes us individual. 

There will be a sporting legacy of the games with aspiration, inspiration and opportunity in abundance.  The community legacy will to my mind reach further than sport, people had an opportunity to come together and cheer their local champions who were rightly recognised for their work in the community and helping bring happiness to others.

So that's my defining memory, a nation made up of every race, every demographic all sharing a common experience with the same result - a smile.