Picture of AC Hewitt and the award winners
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A group of young 'digital ambassadors' have received an award for their hard work as part of an innovative scheme launched by the Metropolitan Police.
A year ago, the Specialist Crime and Operations Youth Council formed a partnership with Dr Sangeet Bhullar, founder of WISE KIDS - a not-for-profit company providing innovative training programs and consultancy in new media, internet and digital technologies, digital literacy and safety.
The Digital Youth Ambassador Award is about empowering young people to develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to use the internet and digital technologies innovatively and responsibly.
This will allow them to create and maintain a positive presence online and use these digital technologies for social good, whilst being aware of how to deal with many online safety issues such as cyber bullying, e-crime, breach of copyright and child sexual exploitation. The Award will empower them to educate and support their siblings, parents and peers to use the online technologies positively and safely.
On Thursday, 26 June Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt presented 11 members of the Specialist Crime and Operations Youth Council with their well-earned Youth Digital Ambassadors Award.
He said: "It's been a pleasure to present the Digital Youth Ambassador Awards. The presentations and achievements of the Youth Council have been outstanding. This has been truly inspirational. You should all be very proud of your achievements."
The pilot commenced in October 2013 with council members tackling two challenging days in the classroom. Over seven months they completed a series of online challenges and designed individual projects using new technologies. They presented their projects to their peers in groups up to 200.
At the awards evening, Kajal Bal, George Paine, Shane Farrell and Robson Lawrence presented their projects on the topics of cyber bullying, UK copyright, police stop and search and forensics.
The audience of very proud parents and senior MPS Leaders were left hugely impressed with the flawless, professional presentations and the creative use of new technologies.
George Paine, aged 16, said "The project was a real eye opener. It showed me the risks that people of all ages are susceptible to, whether it's from chat rooms or dodgy websites. WISE KIDS have helped me to be able to identify the risks and how to deal with them."
Shane Farrell, aged 16, said: "It's been an enriching experience; I've learnt many new things. The project has familiarised me with new programs and websites and through the challenges I've developed my knowledge of the numerous laws online. I'm very impressed with the course and it's been a pleasure doing it."
Robson Lawrence, aged 15, said: "This award has benefited me by giving me a bigger understanding on how unsafe the internet can be. Also I have learned new skills that I can use in the future."
Detective Chief Inspector Noel McHugh, who runs the SCO Youth Council, said: "Dr Sangeet Bhullar and I are so proud of the Youth Council members, they have exceeded our expectations. I am truly grateful to Dr Sangeet Bhullar for making the award a reality with such innovation and creativity. The pilot has been extended to two schools and the vision is that every child in the UK could have the opportunity to attain the award."