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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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 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.
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
A new Hydra Control Room has been built and commisioned at Canterbury Christ Church University. The Hydra Foundation team installed the new Hydra screens and audio monitoring system last week once the building refurbishment at Canterbury had been completed.
Earlier this week the Hydra Foundation team upgraded the Hydra Suite for Northants Police at the University of Northampton site. The Hydra Suite is a joint venture between the University and Police and is now running the latest version of Hydra, Hydra in the Cloud.
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 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.
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.
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.
Truly a moving evening, working with Families of Murdered Victims. The Foundation was asked to run a 10kv workshop, to look at Family Liaison, and Family engagement in the investigation process. 20 families attended and talked about their experiences. The analysis of this workshop in in hand and we hope to be able to feedback to the Met. their experiences. A real privilege, and exactly what the Hydra Foundation is all about.