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Tower Hamlets cadets win police award for online safety work following teen’s murder

PUBLISHED: 10:29 20 April 2018 | UPDATED: 11:11 20 April 2018

Cadets from Tower Hamlets receiving their award on Wednesday. Picture: Met Police

Cadets from Tower Hamlets receiving their award on Wednesday. Picture: Met Police

Archant

A group of voluntary cadets from Tower Hamlets won a police award this week for their work on promoting online safety.

The group of 13 to 18-year-olds from the East London Met Police Cadets were handed the National Crimebeat Award for their presentation on online safety, which they gave to 165,000 pupils across London.

The awards, held at the Royal National Hotel, were attended by the Duchess of Gloucester, and are in their 20th year.

They are given to projects run by young people which tackle a current crime prevention problem, and are judged on originality, impact and how many people are reached.

The cadets’ work was inspired by the murder of Breck Bednar, a 14-year-old who was killed in 2014 by 18-year-old Lewis Daynes, who he met through online gaming.

Breck Bednar was murdered by a teenager he met online. Pic: Essex Police.Breck Bednar was murdered by a teenager he met online. Pic: Essex Police.

Breck’s mother, Lorin LaFave, gave a talk to the group about Breck, which moved the cadets into creating the presentation, ‘Breck’s story’.

The cadets have delivered it to more than 100 schools in London and have set up a training package enabling others to deliver it themselves.

Barbara Wilding, a former Chief Constable of South Wales Police, has run the ceremony for six years. She said: “The Tower Hamlets cadets have already reached thousands of young people and with this prize we hope they will be able to reach many more helping to keep them safe. It’s a truly inspirational project.”

Before the ceremony, finalists were invited to take an open-top bus tour and a trip on the London Eye. At the awards, the cadets were presented with £1,000 to spend on hoodies, badges and travel costs to deliver further training.

Cadets from Tower Hamlets receiving their award on Wednesday. Picture: Met PoliceCadets from Tower Hamlets receiving their award on Wednesday. Picture: Met Police

They were also given the High Sheriff Council’s prize of £750, which will go towards replicating the project nationwide.

Safer Schools officer, PC Steve Austin, said: “What happened to Breck was an absolute tragedy and we want to ensure it doesn’t happen again by giving young people the knowledge to understand the risks involved in meeting people online.

“Young people need to be aware of how to operate safely online, not only because their age poses possible vulnerabilities, but also due to the amount of time they spend online. This is why this presentation is so important and has had such an impact.”

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