Operation Hydrant Statistics
Breakdown of investigations up to and including 31 March 2021
Statistics released by Operation Hydrant provide an indicative national figure, up to and including the 31 March 2021, in relation to investigations into non-recent child sexual abuse involving an institution, organisation or a person of public prominence.
Operation Hydrant collates this information, 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 these figures are accurate at the time of publication. Moreover, the statistics are based on data provided by forces in relation to Operation Hydrant criteria offences and it is important to note that these may fluctuate as forces progress local investigations and as the information offered is further analysed. It is recommended that this document is read in conjunction with ‘Operation Hydrant Quarterly Stat Slides’ to provide further context.
The total number of alleged suspects notified to Operation Hydrant since its inception in 2014 totals 8169. This comprises 7460 males, 546 females and 163 of unknown sex. Where suspects are classified as unknown/unidentified, this may be for example someone who is identified by profession but not by name.
2087 alleged suspects remain subject to live investigations.
Within the cumulative figure of 8169 alleged suspects, 1399 are deceased.
228 alleged suspects are classified as Persons of Public Prominence (PPPs). PPP’s are only 3% of the total alleged suspects on Operation Hydrant’s database. These include, but are not limited to:
- 52 from TV, film, or radio
- 38 are listed as politicians (including both national and local)
- 34 are from the world of sport
- 29 are from the music industry
Investigations in relation to 6082 alleged suspects are closed. A closed investigation is any investigation, which has a final outcome such as, no further action (NFA) by police, NFA by the Crown Prosecution Service, caution, acquittal or conviction.
Since 2015, the current number of reported allegations against suspects relating to Operation Hydrant criteria, which have had a final outcome is 14,179. Of those:
- 7129 (50%) resulted in no further action by police, which include, but are not limited to:
33% Suspect deceased
21% Suspect not identified/traced
19% Victim does not support police action
9% Insufficient detail/evidence
- 4601 (32%) allegations resulted in conviction at court
- 1581 (11%) allegations resulted in no further action by CPS
- 859 (6%) allegations resulted in acquittal at court
- 9 (<1%) allegations resulted in a caution
It is important to note that these outcome figures cannot be compared to national crime statistics and some suspects are subject to more than one final outcome type and will therefore be counted more than once.
The total number of victims on the Operation Hydrant database is 11,133, comprising 7532 males, 3593 females and 8 of unknown sex
Cumulatively, the total number of victims on the Operation Hydrant database continues to increase every quarter; however, during 2020 it was identified that the rate of reporting had fallen. Further work to understand the reasons behind this, such as the impact of Covid-19, is nearly complete and an update will be provided in due course.
4846 different institutions feature on the Operation Hydrant database. These include, but are not limited to:
- 1948 Educational
- 740 Children’s homes
- 569 Religious institutions
- 463 Children & young people’s associations & clubs.
- 450 Sport
Operation Hydrant is informed by police forces of investigations meeting the Operation Hydrant criteria and then coordinates the information to prevent duplication. This is called ‘deconfliction’.
As forces started to capture the surge in adults reporting being sexually abused as a child, it quickly became apparent tthat there was potential for duplication as victims were reporting multiple offenders across different geographical areas. The purpose of Operation Hydrant is to provide operational coordination and deconfliction, to remove this duplication by cross-referencing accounts from victims and witnesses, identifying where forces have different allegations against one offender. It also brings those forces together to agree primacy and collaborative working going forward and allows for the sharing of intelligence and information
To date, Operation Hydrant has received 1666 deconfliction requests from forces and third parties. As a result of these requests, 4354 checks (offenders, victims, locations) have been carried out across the Operation Hydrant database. Of these, 22% are considered positive deconflictions meaning more than one force has identified allegations against one offender.
National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for Child Protection, Chief Constable Simon Bailey said:
"Nationally, we are still seeing a steady upward trend in victims and survivors reporting non-recent child sexual abuse.
"We know that victims of non-recent child sexual abuse often do not come forward for years after the offences were committed because they fear, or they have been told they will not be believed. In addition, by their nature, non-recent child sexual abuse cases are more complex to investigate due to reduced forensic opportunities, witness testimony and victims and suspects spanning force geographical borders.
"Therefore, it is important victims know, when they take the hugely difficult decision to report to police, that they will be treated with empathy and respect and from there, an impartial and proportionate investigation will follow.
"Regardless of these challenges, the current number of reported allegations against suspects relating to Operation Hydrant criteria, which have had a final outcome, such as no further action, caution, acquittal or conviction, is 14,179. Of those crime reports, 4,601 have resulted in a conviction, which equates to 32 percent. Despite the ongoing delays in the criminal justice system due to COVID-19, it is encouraging to see offenders being brought to justice for abusing their position of power, trust and influence over the children they should have been safeguarding.
"I have welcomed the recent announcement from the Department for Education and the launch of a dedicated NSPCC helpline to provide victims and survivors, who have suffered peer on peer sexual abuse, harassment, or been subject to inappropriate behaviour within educational settings, the support they require. The Government’s approach is rightly victim-centred, focusing on understanding, and raising awareness of these inappropriate and harmful behaviours, with the commitment to ensure victims and survivors have access to the support, which is right for them.
"This work demonstrates that we will continue to listen to the voices of those abused and investigate allegations thoroughly and impartially, irrespective of when the offence took place."
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