Hydra Foundation Blog

You are viewing 31 posts by the author Jonathan Crego

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

    • Scotland5
    • Scotland4
    • Scotland3
    • Scotland2
    • Scotland1

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

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


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.


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.

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 http://www.london-fire.gov.uk/exercise-unified-response-scenario.asp

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

    • lfb 10kv
    • lur1
    • lur2

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

Happy New Year

Wishing all our friends a Happy Christmas, As we at the Hydra Foundation look back over 2015, we are delighted to see Australian Federal Police now fully operational, Western Australia, Victoria Police and NSW Police going from strength to strength.  Australia is a strong partner in our community of ideas.  Homeland Security USA is operational and working with us as research partners.  In the UK, Immigration Enforcement, UCLAN, Leeds Beckett, Christchurch Canterbury, University of South Wales and Chester University all engaged within our Academic community, with University of Portsmouth coming on line in 2016.  NYFRS are developing a whole host of exercises in Hydra in the Cloud.  National Crime Agency and College of Policing upgrading to HITC. Met. Police installing two floors of its new training building dedicated to Hydra.  British Transport Police running Hydra over two remote locations.  20 UK Police Forces and 16 Fire Services operating Hydra and New version of the system, Orion, going live on Dec 28. Happy New Year

AFP SIO Course

AFP suite in Canberra Australia ran its first SIO Course in December 2015.  The course was developed in partnership with the Hydra Foundation and was Facilitated by Alison, Dean, Shane and Jonathan.  Geoff worked alongside the control room to pace and train the directing team.  The course was very well received and the delegates had to present to a Senate Committee at Parliament House.  The richness of the decision logs was stunning.  The AFP are now embarking on the development of Leadership, Investigative skills and Counter Terrorism.

    • AFP SIO Course 5
    • AFP SIO Course 4
    • AFP SIO Course 3
    • AFP SIO Course 2

Leeds Beckett Workshop

As part of the new installation at Leeds Beckett University, Geoff, Terry and Jonathan ran a workshop this week with the Business and Law School academics on the methodologies of Hydra.  The new scenario is well developed, and great progress has been made on both the installation of the new Hydra Suite and the creation of the first exercise.  A very rewarding project working with a very creative team.  Watch out for further developments

    • leeds beckett university logo purple 2014
    • Leeds Beckett Workshop

AFP Hydra Suite is Built!

    • AFP Hydra Suite Control Room 2
    • AFP Hydra Suite Syndicate Room
    • AFP Hydra Suite Control Room 1

Australian Federal Police Hydra Suite was installed this week.  Steve flew out with UK AV technicians to work alongside Australian contractors.  The new suite running Hydra in the Cloud technology was installed in the AFP training centre. With internet connectivity the new suite is operating with its own secure server and access to the web based Hydra server.  This will enable them to run secure and sensitive training scenarios and have access to the Hydra Community.  With three other suites now operating in Australia (Perth, Melbourne and Sydney) AFP will be able to operate scenarios both inter-state and meet its needs for international delivery. Photos coming shortly

Malcolm Farrow awarded Hydra Foundation Fellowship

Malcolm Farrow from the Fire Service was awarded a Fellowship of the Hydra Foundation for his outstanding contribution to the Fire Service and Chairmanship of the Fire Hydra and Minerva Users Group.  Malcolm's achievements were mentioned at the recent Chief Fire Officer Association Conference.

    • Jonathan Crego MBE presenting Malcolm Farrow with Life Time Fellow award

Hydra in the Cloud - Mobile

Hydra established in 85 centres around the world.  The new system is stunning.

Hydra in the Cloud, a web based fully featured system is now operating in Australia, USA and the UK in 10 Hydra suites.  There is a roll out planned to convert existing suites to the new system.  The new version utilises a number of new methodologies to further immerse expert practitioners in Hydra simulations. Hydra is now operating in the Federal Law Enforcement Agencies of UK, Australia and UK and the UK Fire Services.  There are 6 Universities delivering Hydra exercises as part of their Masters and Undergraduate programmes.  The UK Immigration Agency now has two suites.  A mobile of the version is now fully tested and has operated successfully in the Australia Federal Police and Portsmouth University.  The mobile version is now stable and able to operate with minimal set up and is fully featured.

10kv with Safeguarding Partners in West Midlands

1st June, 10kv Workshop with Safeguarding partners at West Mids. Police Training Centre.  Really intense workshop with practitioner professionals dealing with Child Sexual Exploitation and Vulnerable people.  The event started with a review of what matters to the people who are working hard to engage with children and young adults.  Other sessions concentrated specifically on CSE and how professionals can work together to protect and prosecute.  Very good representation from Health, Education, Charities, Police, Social Services, Local Authorities, LSCBs and the third sector.  John Grieve was in attendance working alongside the team providing fast time analysis of the emerging themes.  ACC Carl Foulkes, organised the event and invited key participants to attend.  The areas discussed covered, multi agency working, sharing of information, what works and the impact of austerity on the ability to deliver services to vulnerable people.