I was criticised when I watched the opening and closing ceremonies of the London Olympics and openly said the unsayable “These fireworks represent the monies that are not being spent on social care, child protection agencies, police officer or on housing officers” I was told that I had no sense of fun and the Olympics was good for the country, it would make the people fit and healthy, it would revitalise decayed urban spaces. Maybe it did, but for a 14-year-old, the London Olympics happened when they 8 years old, outside their frame of reference, historic, legendary even. Maybe the great ideas lasted as long as the fireworks.
Last week I ran a 10,000 volt debrief in the Old Bailey with 55 children talking about knife crime. In attendance were judges and victim support organisations and the police. Two weeks before that 30 families who had their loved ones murdered also attended the Old Bailey, they also used 10,000 volts to tell their stories.
The read-across between the two events has shaken me. Both dealt with unimaginable loss, sadness and injustice. For the families, their fundamental question was “Why?” Why had their loved ones been murdered? Why had the system allowed the murder to take place? Why wasn’t the murder prevented? For the children the same questions; Why is it so dangerous on the streets that kids feel that the only way to protect themselves is to carry a knife? Why did those who carry knives and murder people, feel that the only way they can feel as sense of belonging, is to be part of a gang? Why were there no youth programmes available that would keep kids off the street?
Both debriefing sessions described the emotions associated with unfairness. The families describe the asymmetric support they felt was given to the perpetrators by the courts and the police. They were highly supportive of the Family Liaison and support given by the police but were disappointed in their belief that they experienced the brunt of poorly resourced and an inadequate criminal justice and community cohesion system, that failed to stop their loved ones being killed
The kids felt the unfairness of privilege. They saw the opportunities available to middle class kids in high performing or private schools contrasted with their belief that they were being provided with substandard second-class education in failing schools. They talked of the struggle for single-parent families, dealing with low incomes and an absence of role-models with little support being given by social services and other agencies, either through inadequate funding or because, from their viewpoint, they just don’t care.
What both groups did acknowledge was that they had been asked to tell us what matters to them, they had come to talk and to have a voice and be listened to.
I have written up the reports on both events and I have circulated them to the relevant parties but how are things going to change? The Olympic ideologies are like the fireworks, they lit up the sky and the hearts of the public and now they are gone, with all the money. ‘Brexit’ and ‘Austerity’ are convenient excuses to not invest in making murders not happen. Such a difficult concept or metric, trying to quantify and measure the pain and misery that does not happen through effective intervention.
Things have got to change; Children like Daniel Pelka were failed by an inadequate and broken system. Much work has gone into trying to learn from his murder and there is still a long road ahead. The young bright kids who came to the workshops full of hope, need to regain trust in a system that they feel has abandoned them. We must stop their futures being snuffed out through this appalling tragedy of knife crime. We need to invest, not just in the elitist sports, but invest in communities, invest in accessible activities like boxing, basketball, martial arts, drama and youth clubs. Invest in providing meals and after school clubs that give the kids something positive to aspire to, somewhere away from the streets, and invest in powerful new role models and give them a future.
The families and kids have spoken so clearly, we have listened, now we must respond and make a difference.
Phase 1 complete! The Hydra Foundation has installed a new Hydra in the Cloud Suite within the University of South Wales, building upon the excellent Hydra research and training taking place at the University. Watch this space for news on Phase 2.
This week sees the Hydra Foundation upgrade the Avon and Somerset Police Hydra Suite to Hydra in the Cloud.
The Senior Management Team from Tipperary Fire Service visited the North Yorkshire Hydra Fire Suite this week. The visit was in preparation ahead of Steve Butterworth installing their new Hydra Suite. It was wonderful to have them all over to talk about the upcoming project. A big thank you to North Yorkshire Fire for hosting and providing a very tasty lunch. We will keep you updated on the progress of this significant installation in Ireland
“The Australian Federal Police recently ran a two day Hydra scenario focussed on financial crime and corruption. This scenario was developed specifically for executive level investigation managers from all Australian Commonwealth agencies, and is designed to draw out non-traditional disruption options while gaining an increased understanding of each other’s capabilities. The scenario was also attended by members from the Hong Kong and Singapore police forces, allowing the participants to discuss the challenges of successful collaboration and to develop valuable networks with international partners”. -
JAMES O'BRIEN, INVESTIGATIONS LEADERSHIP & SPECIALIST TRAINING
This week saw the Hydra team at Hertfordshire police upgrade to Hydra in the Cloud. The Hydra Foundation spent the week in Hertfordshire upgrading the old Hydra 6 suite to run the new Hydra in the Cloud methodologies.
Following the training run by Steve Butterworth of the Hydra Foundation the team are now able to design and run Hydra in the Cloud exercises using these new Hydra methodologies enhancing excisiting training and developing new Hydra events along with a different way of working increasing flexibility and easy of use.
This week saw Dyfed-Powys Police start to use Hydra in the Cloud, becoming the first Welsh force into the Hydra Cloud. The Hydra Foundation carried out the upgrade installation work to commission the new and existing Hydra Suite technology to work with the new Cloud methodology. Following onsite training, the Hydra team are now busy preparing to run their first Hydra in the Cloud exercise.
This week saw Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service upgrade their Hydra Suite to run Hydra in the Cloud. This upgrade gives Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue the opportunity to now further develop their use of Hydra and expand their delivery of operational Training. Following the delivery of an onsite training event, the Oxford Hydra team see excitiing opportunities for enhancing exisiting and developing new training.
This week saw LAPD upgrade to Hydra in the Cloud with further training and events running later this month. The Hydra Foundation completed the upgrade during an intensive 8 day program in Los Angeles, USA.
The latest version of Hydra is exciting, it has been created to deliver a brand new set of methodologies - live date March '17. There are now 80+ Hydra Centres worldwide, including six UK universities. Our mission to work exclusively in the save-life world remains intact. Work in human trafficking, FGM & honour based & domestic violence, compliments our work with all agencies safeguarding children. Work with CyberCrime has opened a whole new world of risk as is our work with; the National Crime Agency, serious crime investigation, CT, FCO, USA Homeland Security, LAPD and immigration.
This week the Hydra Foundation upgraded the Hydra 6 suite at Surrey Police making them the 20th centre to join the Hydra in the Cloud community. The Hydra team at Surrey Police have been working with the foundation over the last 18 months to develop their existing suite to support Hydra in the Cloud and have now successfully achieved this, supported by the Foundation.
Surrey Police are now live and will shortly be running their first Hydra in the Cloud exercise. Steve Butterworth, Vice President Learning Technolgies said, "...We are proud to have supported the team in Surrey to deliver on their vision of becoming a Hydra in the Cloud centre . We are looking forward to supporting them further as they become an active member with in the Hydra in the Cloud community..."
The Hydra Foundation have been assisting lecturers at Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU) with the delivery of three exercises for BA and MA Social Work students. The exercises take the students through a number of very different case studies and look at time and case load management, critical incident decision making and risk assessments.
Feedback from the students has been incredibly positive and we look forward to delivering further exercises with the team at CCCU.
This week the 19th Hydra centre started to begin its preperations to move across to Hydra in the Cloud with a further 4 centres progressing to achieve Cloud status within the next 6 months. VP Learning Technologies, Steve Butterworth is currently working with these centres to prepare them ready for launch.
Outstanding! The Metropolitan Police go live on no less than six Hydra suites in their new training building. This purpose built state of the art training centre is located at the Peel Centre and provides a 21st Century learning environment. Lead by the OCU Commander Craig Haslem, his vision has been to build an Academy for all ranks and for both Police and Police Staff. The Hydra team led by Anne French are co-located and are in the process of converting Hydra 6 courses to Hydra in the Cloud. They have just successfully designed and delivered a new course at the highest level in the Met. We in the Foundation are unbelievably proud to have worked alongside them and look forward to continuing the partnership. Adam and Steve have worked hard to ensure that this installation is absolutely perfect.
The 17th May 2016 saw the culmination of over 10 years thinking and planning: The delivery of a multi-site Hydra exercise. Over a decade ago, the Hydra Foundation identified an educational requirement to run a Hydra event involving multiple syndicates located across different sites, and to meet that immediate need, we re-worked the existing technology of the time, to deliver on the concept. Although it worked, it was not perfect and required a high degree of technical knowledge. One of the key features that we wanted to include in the new Hydra in the Cloud system was the ability to quickly and easily bring in syndicates from other locations using Hydra and standard internet technologies.
The British Transport Police (BTP) ran a HITC event from their suite in London. This site provided the control room, plenary and two syndicate rooms. The newly upgraded Liverpool BTP HITC suite housed another syndicate. Through HITC and video conferencing, the Liverpool syndicate was able to take part as a full syndicate during the both syndicate and plenary sessions. They could see and hear the plenary and take part in discussions with other syndicates during those de-briefs and similarly, the London based syndicates and facilitators could fully interact with them. HITC handles multi-site syndicates seamlessly, allowing users to log in with the appropriate credentials and run a syndicate for their exercise anywhere that has an internet connected machine and accompanying HITC technologies. Although a minimal infrastructure is required at the remote location, there does need to be a central Hydra hub.
The trailblazing BTP have shown the way for UK policing and their use of HITC, with remote syndicate room locations now in Birmingham, Cardiff and Glasgow, allowing them to continue in their evolution as a National force. We have long dreamed of running a multiple country CT type exercise over an extended period, perhaps beginning in Australia, moving to the USA and finishing in Britain. This exciting new development will allow that dream to become reality.
The revolutionary new capabilities are available to all HITC suites but please speak with the Hydra Foundation first to enable us to support you, your facilitators and other Hydra staff in understanding the technology and learning some new skills in exercise delivery and design.
The flexibility, enhancements to new and existing exercises and of course, cost savings are immense. All of the following examples apply to both the UK and internationally. Some of the obvious uses are:
You can run other syndicates from remote locations
You can bring in subject matter expertise and community representation for 'just in time' engagement to greatly enhance the immersion and knowledge gained, without requiring the presence of the people for the entire day.
Other agencies can be brought into an exercise as syndicates for all or part of the event
Links to academia can be greatly enhanced by involving them in exercises and research opportunities.
There are probably many other ideas the creative and industrious members of the Hydra community are already considering.
Please get involved in the conversation.
British Transport Police London have now upgraded their Hydra Suite in West Kensington to the latest Hydra in the Cloud Technology. The Hydra Foundation carried out the upgrade last week improving the existing facilities to work with the latest methodologies of Hydra in the Cloud. Work will continue in Birmingham, Cardiff and Glasgow over the next two weeks to beginning linking these locations to the main Hydra Suites in Liverpool and London.
The Hydra Foundation have now installed and commissioned Hydra in the Cloud for Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue service at their new training centre. This is now the 2nd Fire service to run Hydra in the Cloud, the first being North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue. Professor Jonathan Crego MBE, Hydra Foundation Director, described the North East Fire Services as pioneering the use of Hydra in the Cloud. The centre opened in August 2015 is used by Durham Constabulary as part of a collaborative project in using Hydra methodology. Training by the Hydra Foundation was provided with the first exercise due to be delivery shortly.
On 23rd March 2016, the Hydra Foundation ran a workshop with 35 senior managers from the Sellafield Nuclear Power Station. The purpose of the workshop was to assemble from a broad Sellafield leadership constituency, a current in-depth strategic picture of the challenges confronting Sellafield in managing potential incidents and their potential consequences. The workshop was designed to identify whether Hydra and 10,000 volts events would meet their future needs.
The workshop commenced with a presentation by Professor Crego on Critical Incident decision making and an explanation of both the 10,000 volts and Hydra methodologies. The delegates then answered the question: ‘What matters?’ in relation to dealing with critical incidents and safety at their site. The exact content of their responses are of course sensitive and cannot be published here but they indicated a genuine understanding of the complexities involved and a real desire to keep both their own people and the public safe.
The delegates then moved on to identifying some potential scenarios that could be generated and delivered through the Hydra system. Throughout the sessions, the delegates demonstrated remarkable scientific and technical acumen and a mature and self-critical approach to the issues highlighted. They also demonstrated a willingness to engage in the development of training activities that would make a real difference.
The content that was produced throughout the 10,000 volt workshop showed an absolute synergy between what the managers at Sellafield have identified as their training needs and what the Hydra Foundation delivers in terms of complex, critical incident training in a highly immersive environment.
Wow… four days and four exercises at Christchurch Canterbury University (CCCU).
On 14th to 17th March the Hydra Foundation and senior staff from School of Law & Criminal Justice and Computing ran an existing exercise twice and launched two exciting new exercises.
Although Foundation staff were on hand to assist and to add a few recommendations here and there to keep the exercises on song, every credit to the facilitators from the university who in a high pressure environment engaged their students in making difficult decisions and producing some exquisite rationale.
Monday 14th March saw the launch of the new Crime Scene Managers exercise, ‘Icarus’. With a dead body, some blood and gore to add the necessary reality, the students were quickly immersed in the exercise which was well received by all concerned.
Tuesday and Wednesday saw two separate deliveries of the existing Terrorism exercise, ‘Veritas’ which was first successfully launched in March 2015. This exercise was again well received by the student delegates and represents the blueprint of meeting the challenges of running HYDRA exercises in a university environment where practical skills and knowledge are not yet at an expert level.
Thursday saw the launch of the Cyber Crime exercise, ‘Cloister’. Only a small number of delegates attended this event and those that did were 2nd year students and not as in the previous exercises 3rd year students. This presented an additional challenge due to the theoretical knowledge base of the delegates being somewhat limited. The day however was adapted by Professor Jonathan Crego who ran the exercise in a plenary environment. The students were still tasked within the exercise and were quickly engaged with the emerging problems and the demand for making difficult decisions. These students will hopefully return to be engaged in one of the other exercises in their third year and their Hydra experience will add great value to any subsequent exercise.
CCCU is engaging with the Hydra experience to its fullest extent, already plans are in hand to develop a fourth exercise this year for the Social Work Skills courses. There are also plans for the university to build a purpose built HYDRA suite within the newly acquired HM Prison development which is adjacent to the main campus buildings.
Hats off to CCCU for building on a really successful first year.
In March the Hydra Foundation completed the upgrade of both the College of Policing Hydra sites at Ryton and Harperley Hall. The Foundation carried out the upgrade of new computer technology along with a redesign and installation of control room new visual display system. 9 syndicate rooms have also been upgraded with new display screens and AV control panels. This new design allows for a more effective Hydra environment and an improved immersive learning experience.