Operation Hydrant is a coordination hub established in June 2014 to deliver the national policing response, oversight, and coordination of non-recent child sexual abuse investigations concerning persons of public prominence, or in relation to those offences which took place 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 child 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, Operation Hydrant coordinates peer review and support sessions and provides advice to forces in the UK and Northern Ireland.
Hydrant is also the interface between the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) and all police forces in the UK.
Statistics relating to Operation Hydrant are produced every quarter, as part of a quarterly FOI publication scheme. These statistics provide a national picture on non-recent child sexual abuse cases under the Hydrant remit - involving persons of public prominence or within an institution – and includes the number of victims, suspects and institutions on the Hydrant database.