Background to Operation Hydrant

Operation Hydrant is a coordination hub established in June 2014 to deliver the UK national policing response, oversight, and coordination of non-recent child abuse investigations concerning persons of public prominence, or in relation to those offences which took place historically within institutional settings. Simon Bailey, Chief Constable of Norfolk Constabulary, is the national policing lead for Operation Hydrant.

Operation Hydrant was set up when it became apparent that Forces around the country were investigating a significant number of non-recent allegations of 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 corporate, national expertise, 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. However, there is recognition that substantial information is held on the Operation Hydrant Database, therefore highlighting FOI and Data Protection (DP) implications.

Operation Hydrant is also responsible for identifying best practice, and sharing it with frontline staff carrying out Force investigations. New guidance was developed by Operation Hydrant and was issued to forces in November 2015. This guidance is subject to dynamic review and update in the light of service wide learning and best practice.

Operation Hydrant also serves as the interface between the police service and the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).

IISCA: The Independent Inquiry Child Sexual Abuse

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was set up because of  serious concerns that some organisations had failed and were continuing to fail to protect children from sexual abuse.

IISCA remit is huge, but as a statutory inquiry they have unique authority to address issues that have persisted despite previous inquiries and attempts at reform.

IISCA, Operation Hydrant, and Jehovah’s Witnesses

At the present time IISCA is not officially investigating the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the UK or Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Britain.

However, Operation Hydrant is currently accepting evidence in relation to child sexual abuse within congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses across the United Kingdom.

Can you contribute to Operation Hydrant?

Operation Hydrant is currently accepting complaints, reports, and submissions into child sexual abuse, historical and current, within the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the United Kingdom.

To facilitate this Operation Hydrant has produced a Reporting Guide for anyone who has been a victim of child sexual abuse or knows someone that has and may not yet have reported what happened to the police. There may be a number of reasons for this, and to take this step may be painful for you and require courage. You may, or may not, be ready to take this step now. The purpose of the guide is to be sure you know what to expect when reporting to the police, and to help you to make an informed decision.

The Reporting Guide contains contains 11 important sections as highlighted below:

Download the REPORTING GUIDE and follow the guidelines. You can also make a report through the Truth Project, which is highly recommended.

The Truth Project

The Truth Project was set up for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse to share their experiences in a supportive and confidential setting. It’s part of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).

The Say Sorry Team