An MOD Police Officer based at RAF Coningsby has received a commendation for helping to educate thousands of youngsters about staying safe whilst on-line.

In 2008 Royal Air Force Coningsby funded PC Pete Smith, their Defence Community Police Officer, to be trained as a Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Ambassador. This enabled him to cascade training to other officers and agencies whose staff work with children at local schools or youth groups. The ‘ThinkUKnow’ internet safety training programme is part of an ongoing national initiative by the CEOP centre.

The majority of Ministry of Defence Community Police Officers from across the UK and Northern Ireland; approximately 30 Police Officers from the Neighbourhood Policing Team at Horncastle, and colleagues from the Community Support Team at RAF Coningsby have all now been trained by PC Smith.

Among those to take on the training role at Coningsby have been Tina Proctor from the HIVE Information Centre; Police Community Support Officer Alison Evans and PC Chris Redfearn from Lincolnshire Police; as well as Sergeant Steve Cambers and Corporal Craig Bentley from the RAF Police.

PC Smith said: “We have now taken this package out to many local schools, as well as to all visiting Air Cadet Groups who spend their summer camp at RAF Coningsby. In all, we have reached just short of 2,000 young people with this presentation.”

The CEOP programmes are regularly updated to take in to account changes in the habits of young people on-line as well as the changing trends in ‘on-line’ threats to young people by either computers or mobile phone technology. Subjects such as Cyber-bullying, Sexting, Spim and on-line grooming are all covered in the programme.

PC Smith received his commendation at the MOD Police Headquarters at Wethersfield in Essex from Assistant Chief Constable Dave Allard.

“I was surprised and delighted to receive an award for my work delivering the ‘Think U know’ programme,” PC Smith said. “But I think it is recognition for all of those colleagues who have helped deliver the CEOP programme in both the RAF Coningsby and local communities.

“The internet is here to stay and will no doubt get bigger and bigger. There will always be people looking to use the opportunities it presents to exploit children. But this presentation goes a long way to help protect them. It covers many areas explaining the risks to young people while using the internet on computers and mobile phones as well as how to report abuse on-line.”