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Following widespread national publicity regarding allegations of non-recent child sexual abuse in football in November 2016, many police forces across the country received an increased number of calls from victims and from people offering information. This information was forwarded by forces to Operation Hydrant along with referrals from the NSPCC helpline, as part of the process of operational coordination across the police service. Operation Hydrant is the coordination hub for UK policing, set up in 2014 for investigations concerning persons of public prominence and/or in relation to offences which took place within institutional settings.

Operation Hydrant collates information it receives from partner agencies and organisations, cross references it to avoid duplication of investigation, and ensures information and intelligence is shared across forces. The process of operational coordination is complex and detailed, and remains ongoing, meaning that figures provided may fluctuate.

Statistics released today by Operation Hydrant provide an indicative national figure, up to and including the 31 December 2017, in relation to allegations of non-recent child sexual abuse within football. The figures are accurate at the time of publication, but may change as forces progress local investigations and as the information offered is further analysed.

2094 referrals have been received by Operation Hydrant from the NSPCC helpline and directly from police forces.

  • This figure does not equate to the number of victims.
  • 695 referrals came from the NSPCC, and 1399 from Police Forces.

The indicative number of victims now stands at 839.

  • This is an indicative figure based on the information available at the time of publication, and may fluctuate.

294 alleged suspects have been identified.

334 football clubs have been impacted.

  • This does not equate to 334 football clubs under investigation, but instead refers to the number of clubs referenced when information is submitted.
  • The figure spans all tiers of football, from premier league clubs through to amateur.

95% of those identified as victims are male.

The age range for victims at the time of the abuse spans 4 years through to 20 years.

National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for Child Protection, Chief Constable Simon Bailey said:

“Allegations of non-recent child sexual abuse are complex, and often require specialist skills and knowledge, and can take time to progress. However, all allegations and information received by police forces across the country are being acted upon.

“We continue to urge anyone who may have been a victim of child sexual abuse to report it, if they are ready to do so, by dialling 101, or contacting the dedicated NSPCC helpline, regardless of how long ago the abuse may have taken place. We will listen and treat all reports sensitively and seriously. Anyone with any information regarding child sexual abuse is also encouraged to come forward.

“When allegations are reported it enables police to assess whether there are current safeguarding risks and ensure that appropriate action is being taken to prevent children being abused today.”

Background info:

Investigations have been launched by forces local to the area where allegations relate, and these are being progressed in a prioritised manner based on assessment of risk and harm.

Where allegations against a suspect span a number of forces, a lead force will be identified to progress the investigation, while maintaining liaison with other forces holding relevant information.

Due to the high number of calls received across the service, it may take longer than normal for an officer from a local force to make contact to follow up from the initial call. Please be assured that the information provided will be taken seriously and acted upon.

The numbers for referrals relating to other sports are no longer included in this specialist document and have been absorbed into the quarterly statistics produced by Operation Hydrant, which lists the number of sport institutions on the Operation Hydrant database. Initially these numbers were extracted to provide information within this document on the other referrals received alongside football referrals.

Previous statistics - 28/09/2017
Previous statistics - 30/06/2017
Previous statistics - 18/04/2017
Previous statistics - 18/01/2017
Previous statistics - 21/12/2016
Previous statistics - 09/12/2016