The Association of Chief Police Officers has established a ‘national coordinating group’ to help forces investigating historic child abuse cases.
The group, which is called Operation Hydrant, is designed to act as an ‘information, advice and good-practice-sharing hub,’ particularly for forces looking at incidents involving institutions and prominent people. According to ACPO, it will not be leading investigations itself.
Speaking of the strategy, national lead Chief Constable Simon Bailey said: “Since the foundation of Hydrant, a decision has been made to expand the scope of the work to encompass not just those inquiries concerning prominent people, but also all those concerning institutions.
“This is likely to involve all police forces in the UK, and we have included Police Scotland and the Police Service of Northern Ireland in our remit.”
He continued: “I have written to all forces, asking them to provide information of any historic abuse inquiries involving institutions and [prominent people], so that we can build up a national picture and commence our work in sharing the relevant information and advice.”
The establishment of Operation Hydrant has been prompted by numerous recent high-profile cases where ‘historic’ victims of child abuse have come forward to accuse those involved – for instance, Jimmy Savile.
One of the most recent celebrities to be named is Australian artist and former TV presenter Rolf Harris, who earlier this year was found guilty of 12 counts of indecent assault dating back to the 1960s. Harris has since launched a bid to appeal the conviction.