West London volunteer police cadets have won a top prize at national award ceremony for a unique project which has brought the elderly and young together in the fight against cyber crime.
The Lord Ferrers award for outstanding contribution to volunteering to policing was handed to the young stars at a ceremony at the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday 9 September, in the presence of the Home Secretary Theresa May.
The cadets who are all 17-18 years of age beat contenders across the country to win the prestigious award.
Award recipient, George Paine, 17, said: "Winning this award was a great privilege, it started off as a small scale presentation to help vulnerable people and bridge the age gap, but I never realised it would become so vital. We all just wanted to help prevent crime and keep people safe. We feel extremely honoured to be recognised for our involvement in the initiative."
In November 2014, officers in Hillingdon launched a series of unique new learning events to encourage internet safety to elderly and vulnerable communities, with help from eight young cadets.
The concept was simple; deliver fun, interactive and jargon free workshops to those who use the internet, to empower them with confidence in spotting scams, fraudulent emails and websites by taking simple steps to protect themselves online.
The interactive workshops continue to be delivered to a diverse range of people aged 50 and above by the young police cadets who have worked with the Met's specialists on cyber crime (Operation Falcon) and have undergone specialist police training.
The project - which is supported by local partners AGE UK, the London Borough of Hillingdon, Brunel University and British Airways (BA) - is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK.
Since its launch, the community cyber crime project has been rolled out to all 32 boroughs in London and beyond to other national forces and continues to grow and gain recognition.
Hillingdon Borough Commander Nick Downing said: "I am both delighted and very proud of the achievement of Hillingdon's volunteer cadets and staff in receiving the prestigious Lord Ferrers Award.
"Their hard work and dedication have not only made a difference to the communities of Hillingdon, but now across London and I would hope soon across the UK.
"We are continually closing the net on criminals and developing new tactics to identify those responsible. With the expertise of Operation Falcon we will relentlessly tackle the real and present threat of cyber crime."
The project forms part of the Met-wide response to combat cyber crime.
FALCON (Fraud and Linked Crime Online) which was launched in August 2014, is a dedicated team which looks at complex cyber crime, such as hacking, acquisitive crime with an online aspect - such as retail fraud - and fraud that does not have an online element.
Regional teams conduct the investigation of these crimes in all 32 boroughs of. In its first seven months, FALCON undertook over 1,300 investigations and made over 350 arrests.
Anyone who is a victim of online fraud should report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
The Metropolitan Police Service's top 10 tips for cyber-enabled crime are:
1. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. There are no guaranteed 'get rich quick' schemes.
2. Only give out your personal details when absolutely necessary and only when you trust the person or company you are giving them to.
3. Destroy personal information. Make sure you shred all documents, old credit and debit cards and anything else with personal details on.
4. Never send money to anyone you don't know, have never met, or have only recently started contact with.
5. Do not send any money or pay fees to claim prizes or lottery winnings.
6. Never reply to spam emails, even to try and stop them.
7. Legitimate banks and financial companies will never ask you for your PIN either via email or over the telephone. Neither will the police.
8. Just because a company has a well designed website does not mean it is legitimate.
9. Be aware that scammers can be clever.
10. Be suspicious. If you are unsure about anything stop and seek advice from a family member, friend or the police.
The Met has issued The Little Book of Big Scams in which we list all of the most common and sophisticated scams. It is available on our website:
Find more advice about protecting yourself online, go to: