A SECURITY team tasked with guarding the Olympic Torch as it is carried across the UK will include a super-fit policeman who was born in St Helens.

PC Stuart Tracey is among 70 officers and staff in the final days of preparations for the Metropolitan Police Service’s specialist Torch Security Team.

He is part of a 35-strong squad, known as ‘the runners’, which has completed 18 months of gruelling training ahead of what will be a unique role in British policing.

PC Tracey, a 42-year-old former British Police rugby league player and boxer, will cover up to 30 miles a day with the ‘runners’, one element of the security team that also includes motorcyclists, pedal cyclists, senior officers and planners.

A minimum of three officers will keep pace with the torchbearer to form a “protective bubble”, says the Met.

PC Tracey, a father-of-two, will travel with the Olympic Flame, from the moment it leaves Lands End on May 19 until it arrives at the Olympic Stadium for the Opening Ceremony 70 days later.

He will head through the town of his birth on Friday, June 1, when the relay starts in St Helens at the Windle Island junction.

National reports suggest there are fears the relay will be targeted by protest groups and that the protection team will try to prevent a repeat of chaotic scenes that accompanied the Beijing Olympic torch relay four years ago.

An officer since 1988, PC Tracey has served as a public order training officer for the past eight years.

He was chosen to take on this challenge from an initial 664 applicants.

He said: "I’m sure there will be a lot of highs and some lows during those 70 days, but I’m sure bringing the torch back to London, and being MPS officers, will be a special time for the whole team.

“Seeing the streets of London come alive and celebrating is when the Olympics will truly start in the Capital.”

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