Ross left ESMS in 2010 and studied Criminology and Philosophy at Stirling University. He was about to start his third year when he was offered the opportunity to join the police. He decided to leave University and joined the police at 19, being the youngest officer in Central Scotland Police at that time. He has been working for Police Scotland for 8 years. In 2018 he volunteered to attend the Special Olympics Anniversary Games in Stirling and there became aware of an organisation called the Law Enforcement Torch Run which is a worldwide organisation with particularly large branches in the USA and Canada. We spoke to Ross about this organisation and how he proposes to take it forward in Scotland.
Tell us what the Law Enforcement Torch Run is all about
In its simplest form, it involves police officers spreading awareness and funds for the Special Olympics (SO). We attend SO games and open and close the games by taking part in a Torch Run with the athletes. We attend SO events and conduct their medal ceremonies, and we even take part in events and break down barriers with athletes. I want to bring this to Police Scotland and establish us as a chapter of the organisation.
How do you propose to take this forward?
I have a meeting next month with the Deputy Chief Constable of the Police Service of Scotland and all the divisional commanders, with the aim of setting up a bank account and applying for charitable status. I am delighted that the Torch Run has already been chosen by Police Scotland as a national project.
How do you raise funds?
We have designed a couple of t-shirts that we are hoping to manufacture and sell to raise funds and we are hopeful that this may be of interest to businesses to sponsor. Sponsors would have their logo on the shirt and be mentioned on social media and given photo opportunities once events are able to run again. We are actively seeking sponsors and I can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org if anyone from the ESMS Community would like to be involved.
Have you held any events so far?
A Virtual Torch Run took place across the central belt in September involving many athletes at key landmarks. This was part of a Global Virtual Torch Run with participants in many countries around the world. Athletes were featured in front of the Falkirk Wheel, the Wallace Monument, the Forth bridges and many other famous places to raise awareness ahead of the event. We worked closely with local support organisations to have SO competitors involved at each location.
Do you have plans for future events?
We are working hard to set up a sponsored torch run, some polar plunges (police in uniform running into freezing water) and police selling donuts in shopping centres too. There is no shortage of volunteers amongst my fellow officers!
Thank you for your time, Ross – we wish you all the best with your new initiative!