The Hydrant Programme was established in August 2022. It was born out of Operation Hydrant, which was formed 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 was informed by individual forces of investigations meeting the criteria, and then coordinated the information among forces to prevent duplication. This was called deconfliction.
This function will not continue under the Hydrant Programme structure, as new systems and processes have been introduced (supported by the work of Operation Hydrant) which now deliver the operational coordination and deconfliction function routinely across policing.
Operation Hydrant did not carry out individual investigations – this was carried out by the force locally to the investigation, or the force with allocated primacy for investigation in the case of allegations involving two or more police forces.
Statistics relating to Operation Hydrant were previously produced every quarter, as part of a quarterly FOI publication scheme.
These statistics provided a national picture on non-recent child sexual abuse cases under the Hydrant remit - involving persons of public prominence or within an institution – and included the number of victims, suspects and institutions on the Hydrant database and are now archived.
The Hydrant Programme remains committed to a policy of transparency and accountability, and a refreshed FOI Publication Strategy is being developed.