William and Harry praise award-winning police officers at palace reception

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The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry have praised “impressive” and “inspiring” police officers, staff and volunteers who have won awards for their work.

The brothers met winners of the Metropolitan Police Excellence Awards at a reception in Kensington Palace where one officer joked William’s children could join the police cadets.

William and Harry also met Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood who won an outstanding contribution award for his efforts in rushing to help Pc Keith Palmer during the Westminster terror attack.

Met Excellence Awards reception – Kensington Palace
Prince Harry (left) talks to Tobias Ellwood, who received a police bravery award (Adrian Dennis/PA)

Mr Ellwood, a former soldier, told William about how “instinct kicked in” as the attack unfolded last March.

The Duke said: “Everyone did all they could I’m sure.”

William met cadet of the year Nabil Laasid, who has completed almost 1,000 hours of volunteering in the last year, and was one of the first cadets to volunteer after the Grenfell Tower fire.

He was nominated by Jayne Richardson who joked with William that his children could join the cadets.

After the event, she said: “We’re only based just down the road in Kensington and I said to him ‘Perhaps Prince George and Princess Charlotte could join the police cadets’.

“And he said ‘Well he does like the police at the moment’.”

William met Investigation of the Year award winner DC Hannah Stewart, who led a time sensitive and logistically challenging investigation into a child sexual abuse offence.

Met Excellence Awards reception – Kensington Palace
The Duke of Cambridge (left) meets Met Police officers and staff (Adrian Dennis/PA)

The victim had motor neurone disease, with a life expectancy of less than six months, and was no longer able to speak.

DC Stewart arranged for a specialist neurologist to act as an intermediary between her and the victim.

She arranged for a private company to install specialist technology that would let the victim give evidence by blinking.

On the day of the verdict, the victim died, not knowing that the defendant had been convicted.

William congratulated her on her award and described her work as “very impressive”.

The royals also met police officer of the year, Pc Philip Stone, who co-ordinates the work of the Met’s Disaster Victim Identification Cadre, which organises the national and international recovery and identification of human remains for the coroner to repatriate them to their families.

Pc Stone discussed Grenfell Tower with William and afterwards the officer described his team’s work there as “very, very difficult”.

He said he had already met the Duke at Grenfell in the aftermath of the tragedy.

As they left, William described the group as “really inspiring”, while Harry said: “Well done guys.”

Met Commissioner Cressida Dick said the force is “really grateful” to William and Harry for finding time for them.

“It’s wonderful for our guys and girls to be here and to enjoy such a treat.

“They’re really excited and have had a lovely time.

“They all spoke very openly and clearly and frankly about what they do, and what they do is … you know they take it for granted, but it is extraordinary for many of them,” she said.

The Commissioner said William and Harry are “very knowledgeable”, adding: “We’re very grateful because they’ve been supporting us in a variety of different ways over the last several years.”

She said they are “interested in policing” and in how the force keeps the public safe.

The Commissioner said the pair have taken a great interest in crime that affects young people, such as knife crime.

The seventh annual awards ceremony, held on Friday, celebrated the work of police officers in London.

Pc Palmer was posthumously honoured at the ceremony for his heroic response during the Westminster attack.

The officer, who was stabbed to death when he confronted attacker Khalid Masood outside the Houses of Parliament, was named the winner of the outstanding bravery of the year prize.