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Stephen Lawrence Conference 20 years since the public inquiry

    • stephen lawrence pic

Picture above; Neville Lawrence, Jonathan Crego and John Grieve.

The Hydra Foundation just delivered 10kv debriefing as part of a Conference 20 years on from the Public Inquiry. Brilliant speakers. Huge delegate engagement, captured by 10kv system, 35,000 words poured into the system, wonderful data-set. Can’t wait to do the analysis with my hero John Grieve. Overwhelmed by the journey. Over 200 delegates attended and were able to connect their own laptops to the 10kv system and contribute.  We had 60 iPads on the tables but at one point 160+ were contributing to the debate.  The delegates were asked to generate a “What Matters?” list which kicked the day off.  So proud to be able to contribute to the debate.  Stephen’s legacy is such a powerful driver for change.

Police Scotland upgrades to Hydra in the Cloud

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We are delighted to celebrate that Police Scotland at the Police College at Tulliallan Castle in Kincardine, Fife, Scotland have just upgraded their Hydra Suite to Hydra in the Cloud.  This is very exciting and to make it even more special they have the only polished oak suite in the world!  The college is part of a 200-year-old castle and in many ways was the original home for Hydra.  Sadly Chief Inspector Peter Willis who recently died, was so helpful in the very early days of helping the design of the Minerva system, a public order simulator original operating in 1996 in the Metropolitan Police.  Peter had designed a laser disk system that was able to display video in different rooms.  Based on his early concepts, Hydra came to life and the two centres worked closely together ever since.  He would have been thrilled with the functionality of the new system.  We very much look forward to developing exciting training with Police Scotland and are so grateful for all their enthusiasm and support


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.

Jonathan Crego

University of South Wales goes into the Cloud

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.

    • University of South Wales Hydra Control Room

Avon and Somerset Police upgrade to Hydra in the Cloud

This week sees the Hydra Foundation upgrade the Avon and Somerset Police Hydra Suite to Hydra in the Cloud.

Tipperary Fire Visit UK

    • Tipperary Fire Service visit

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

Categories: Comms support

AFP runs its first ever Commonwealth Agency Management of Serious Crime Program

“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”. - 


Hertfordshire Police in the Cloud

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.

    • Hertfordshire Hydra in the Cloud Suite
    • Hertfordshire Hydra in the Cloud Suite
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Dyfed-Powys Police first Welsh Force on Cloud

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.

    • Dyfed-Powys Hydra in the Cloud - Syndicate Room
    • Dyfed-Powys Hydra in the Cloud - Control Room
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Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue upgrade to Hydra in the Cloud

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.

    • Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Hydra in the Cloud Suite - Syndicate Room 1
    • Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Hydra in the Cloud Suite - Syndicate Room 4
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LAPD in the Cloud

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.

    • LAPD Hydra Suite Syndicate Room 3
    • LAPD Hydra Suite Syndicate Room 2
    • LAPD Hydra Suite Plenary Room
    • LAPD Hydra Suite Control Room 3
    • LAPD Hydra Suite Control Room 1


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.


Surrey Police become the latest Hydra in the Cloud Suite

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..."

Canterbury Christ Church Uni Social Worker's Exercises

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. 

Hydra in the Cloud now live in 19 centres worldwide

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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.

Met. Police New Training Centre

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.

BTP run simultaneous dual site HITC exercise

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.

    • BTP Remote Hydra Syndicate  - Cardiff
    • BTP Remote Hydra Syndicate  - Birmingham
    • BTP Remote Hydra Syndicate  - Birmingham
    • BTP Hydra Suite Remote Syndicate Glasgow

British Transport Police upgrade London to Hydra in the Cloud

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. 

    • BTP London Hydra in the Cloud Suite Control Room
    • BTP London Hydra in the Cloud Suite Plenary Room
    • BTP London Hydra in the Cloud Suite Syndicate Room
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County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue now running Hydra in the Cloud

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.

    • County Durham and Darlington Hydra Suite Control Room
    • County Durham and Darlington Hydra Suite Red Syndicate
    • County Durham and Darlington Hydra Suite ISCU Room
    • County Durham and Darlington Hydra Suite Plenary Room
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Sellafield Workshop

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.