The George Cross is the highest civil award for bravery a person can recieve, it is the civilian counter-part of the Victoria Cross and can be awarded to civilians and soldiors for acts that are not in the face of the enemy. The George Cross was introduced on 24 September 1940 by King George VI. At the time it was felt that a more prestigious award was needed to recognise the brave deeds of civilians. Up to now It has been awarded to 159 people, 86 posthumously, and was bestowed on over 100 recipients during the Second World War. As in the case of Island of Malta in 1942 and the award to the Royal Ulster Constabulary in 1999, the decoration may be awarded collectively. Often it was difficult to decide whether a Victoria Cross or a George Cross was the more appropriate award. Although the George Cross was originally intended to reward civilian bravery, many members of the armed forces actually ended up being recipients due to being unavoidably engaged in work inappropriate for other military awards.