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Hydra Foundation Blog

You are viewing 16 posts for 2016

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

    • We love Hydra

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. 

Canterbury Tales

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. 

College of Policing upgrades both their sites to Hydra in the Cloud

    • College of Policing Hydra Suite Syndicate Room 5
    • College of Policing Hydra Suite Syndicate Room 3
    • College of Policing Hydra Suite Syndicate Room 2
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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. 

Leeds Beckett

The Hydra Foundation is excited and proud of the partnership it has developed with Leeds Beckett University.  Together we have created a 21st Century Hydra Suite in their Business and Law Department.  The university teaching staff are hugely engaged in the student experience,  one that is all about learning.  Leeds now has developed a large group of Accredited Hydra Facilitators at the University.  These dynamic and talented people are now able to design and deliver highly relevant, risk-based, decision scenarios, that fully exploit the immersive Hydra methodologies.  By combining Business and Law, Leeds Beckett offer their own unique perspective and are fully engaged with the wider Hydra community, which has 80 centres delivering the methodologies.  Leeds Beckett are the only installation in the world, delivering Business and Law education to under and post graduate students, using Hydra.  It is working closely with the Hydra Foundation, on new scenarios to further its range of delivery both to university students and to the wider commercial and business communities. 

Cyber Crime Debrief

The Hydra Foundation in partnership with the National Crime Agency ran a 2 day workshop debriefing a European Cyber Crime exercise.  The debrief took place at the Europol Police HQ at the Hague.  The debrief looked at how European police investigators and prosecutors collaboratively work together in the joint investigation of Cyber criminality.  The data is currently being analysed and a full report will be forthcoming 

Senior Command Course held at the Metropolitan Police

23rd February the Hydra Foundation working with the London Metropolitan Police delivered a Hydra workshop at the MPS Hydra centre at Earls Court.  Delegates from the National Senior Command Course, a course designed to develop the most senior police commanders in the country, attended a Critical Incident exercise alongside a 'Diamond' panel of community members.  The delegates were challenged to not only manage a range of critical incidents, but also to engage with the community and their needs.  

We were impressed with the considered and intelligent thinking demonstrated by the delegates and wish them all well in their future Senior Management careers.

Global Leading speciality chemicals Company Hydra Workshop

On 9th and 10th of March, the Foundation ran a Hybrid 10kv and Hydra workshop for international Site Managers of this leading company.  27 Key leaders were taken through two days of critical thinking, critical decision making and strategic leadership.  The company has a strong ethics mission to protect its staff and operate responsibly. Over the two days the delegates lived through a simulated incident that tested their abilities to deal with a major incident and protect the public.

The Hydra Foundation were hugely impressed with the level of engagement, and the intelligent thinking displayed by the participants and their ethical and emotional responses.  Work is now underway to develop bespoke Hydra exercises to meet the specific needs of sites to be delivered across this impressive company's global business base.

London Exercise Unified Response 10kv Debrief

On 7th March, The Hydra Foundation ran a debrief with the key Senior and Operational team members of Exercise Unified Response, a large scale and complex, live and command post exercise, which was held between 29 February 2016 and 3 March 2016. Please see

The debrief generated 30,000 words of meaningful learning, post event.  The team is presently analysing the data.  This largest exercise to be run in Europe was a complex scenario that presented a range of challenges to frontline responders from all participating agencies and specialist teams such as those that undertake Urban Search and Rescue (fire service), Hazardous Area Response Teams (ambulance service) and Disaster Victim Identification (police service).  The debrief focussed on the strategic management of the exercise and also the tactical response

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Leeds Beckett Facilitator Course

This week Leeds Beckett University ran a two day Facilitators Accrediting Workshop in their brand new Hydra Suite.  The students were from Law, Journalism and the Management schools.  The course was excellent with huge engagement from all the delegates.  This was the first-run of their new Hydra Suite, which is a 21st Century installation.  Jonathan and Geoff from the Hydra Foundation ran the course. Leeds Beckett are the only university to focus Hydra on Law and Management

    • Leeds Beckett Control

AFP Parliament House Australia

The First AFP SIO Course presents themselves for a Senate Committee scrutiny at Parliament House.  Delegates who had attended a two week course had to give evidence on their accountability in the investigation of Serious Crime as part of their course.  They were asked very searching questions and were able to defend their investigative decisions using their decision logs generated as part of the Hydra Exercise.  They performed brilliantly

    • afp parliament house