Operation Hydrant is a coordination hub established in June 2014 to deliver the national policing response, oversight, and coordination of non-recent child abuse investigations concerning persons of public prominence, or in relation to those offences which took place historically within institutional settings.
Operation Hydrant was set up when it became apparent that Forces around the country were investigating a significant number of non-recent allegations of sexual abuse involving persons of public prominence or within institutions. There was a risk that investigators were looking at the same individuals and institutions and it was also clear that officers dealing with these complex cases required support and guidance.
Operation Hydrant is informed by individual Forces of investigations meeting the criteria, and then coordinates the information among Forces to prevent duplication. This is called deconfliction. It does not carry out individual investigations – this is done by individual Forces.
Operation Hydrant is also responsible for identifying best practice, and sharing it with frontline staff carrying out the investigations. To this end, on Thursday 26 November 2015 a national Operation Hydrant conference took place. The conference brought together around 300 police officers and staff from across the country, from a range of specialisms including investigators, child protection, analysts, and those specially trained in crimes involvingsexual offences. During the course of the conference, new guidance developed by Operation Hydrant was issued to forces. Practitioners were also joinedby academics, providing the opportunity for empirical learning to be placed within the context of the best in current research.