Operation Hydrant Statistics
Breakdown of investigations up to and including 31 March 2022
Statistics released by Operation Hydrant provide an indicative national figure, up to and including the 31 March 2022, 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 Stats Slides’ to provide further context.
The total number of alleged suspects notified to Operation Hydrant since its inception in 2014 totals 9,369. This comprises 8,570 males, 643 females and 156 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.
1,331 alleged suspects remain subject to live investigations.
Within the cumulative figure of 9,369 alleged suspects, 1,643 are deceased.
250 alleged suspects are classified as Persons of Public Prominence (PPPs). PPP’s are only 3 per cent of the total alleged suspects on Operation Hydrant’s database. These include, but are not limited to:
- 58 from TV, film, or radio
- 40 are from the world of sport
- 37 are listed as politicians (including both national and local)
- 30 are from the music industry
Investigations in relation to 8038 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 17,681. Of those:
- 8,982 (51 per cent) resulted in no further action by police, which include, but are not limited to:
- 30 per cent Suspect deceased
- 22 per cent Victim does not support police action
- 21 per cent Suspect not identified/traced
- 9 per cent Insufficient detail/evidence
- 5,961 (33 per cent) allegations resulted in conviction at court
- 1,754 (10 per cent) allegations resulted in no further action by CPS
- 973 (6 per cent) allegations resulted in acquittal at court
- 11 (<1 per cent) 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 12,656, comprising 8,370 males, 42,84 females and 2 of unknown sex.
5,705 different institutions feature on the Operation Hydrant database. These include, but are not limited to:
- 2423 Educational
- 811 Children’s homes
- 657 Religious institutions
- 553 Children and young people’s associations and clubs.
- 498 Sport
Operation Hydrant is informed by police forces of investigations meeting the Operation Hydrant criteria and then co-ordinates 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 that 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 1,867 deconfliction requests from forces and third parties. As a result of these requests, 4,968 checks (offenders, victims, locations) have been carried out across the Operation Hydrant database. Of these, 20 per cent are considered positive deconflictions meaning more than one force has identified allegations against one offender.
National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for Child Protection, Deputy Chief Constable Ian Critchley said:
"Our fight to protect children from sexual abuse continues. This is a multi-agency endeavour with complex challenges, and the importance of working together cannot be underestimated.
"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.
“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 17,681. Of those crime reports, 5,961 have resulted in a conviction, which equates to 33 percent. Despite the ongoing delays in the criminal justice system due to COVID-19, it is encouraging to see suspects being brought to justice for abusing their position of power, trust, and influence over the children they should have been safeguarding.
"We know that victims of non-recent child sexual abuse often do not come forward for years after the offences were committed - many because they fear, or they have been told by their abuser, that they will not be believed. 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. From there an impartial and proportionate investigation will follow.
"Policing 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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