The National Police Coordination Centre (NPoCC) has reached another significant milestone in enhancing its national coordination capabilities by re-platforming its Mercury digital platform to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud. The platform enables forces across the UK to efficiently coordinate efforts in response to globally significant events. This strategic work puts the platform on a secure footing for the future, ensuring improved scalability, security, and availability.
NPoCC, overseen by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), plays a crucial role in coordinating national law enforcement efforts. It uses the Mercury platform to manage and coordinate over 5,000 mutual aid requests annually from police forces across the UK, supporting collaborative resourcing, planning and operations during daily and large-scale events, special operations, and national emergencies. Recent events include the state funeral of HRH Queen Elizabeth II, HRH Charles III’s coronation, the COP26 Climate conference in Glasgow, and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
In response to near end-of-life hosting infrastructure, and the need for increased resilience and security, NPoCC partnered with Informed Solutions to re-platform and future-proof this critical service. The project’s key objectives included decommissioning the on-premises data centre, ensuring end-to-end service security, minimising downtime and enabling cost-effective scaling during globally significant events.
The successful re-platforming required effective leadership and detailed dependency management across a broad group of key stakeholders, including NPoCC, the Police Digital Service, Aristi (independent cyber security assurance), Warwickshire Police (providing critical connectivity), and JML Software Solutions (for force HR system integration). Informed Solutions applied a highly collaborative approach, managing a complex delivery through a PRINCE2 Agile-aligned method, which provided flexibility to explore and take-on opportunities for optimisation and improvement within a controlled and risk-managed framework.
The project also benefitted from the adoption of AWS’s Police Assured Landing Zone (PALZ); a best-practice architecture to enable police forces to implement cloud technology by deploying a pre-approved, pre-assured blueprint for operating police workloads within the cloud.
Informed Solutions’ AWS Certified architects worked alongside AWS’ own Solutions Architects, embracing AWS best practices, and adopting AWS security services. Throughout the project, stakeholder management, architectural diligence, and independent expert assurance played pivotal roles in addressing emerging risks and challenges.
As a result of Informed Solutions’ AWS expertise and highly collaborative, flexible delivery approach, the Mercury Platform was successfully re-platformed in August 2023, realising benefits for NPoCC including:
- Scalability: The solution can now automatically scale to meet peak demand during national events. NPoCC can quickly and cost-effectively spin-up and spin-down environments for training purposes within a matter of hours (previously this involved months of lead time)
- Improved performance: Use of DevSecOps and Infrastructure-as-Code techniques has enhanced deployment agility by enabling zero-downtime deployments, improved disaster recovery capability, and secured faster identification and response to issues through operational monitoring.
- Increased availability and security: Cloud-native and serverless technologies enhance availability while AWS security services can evolve to counter emerging threats.
- Future-proofing and innovation: Access to AWS offerings enables rapid integration of new technology and advanced data analytics capabilities.
Following the successful re-platforming of the critical service , Chief Superintendent Matt Lawler, Head of NPoCC, expressed the importance of this transition, stating: “Mercury is an essential platform for daily and major UK policing operations, and in migrating to the AWS cloud, we’ve taken a significant step forward in the security of the platform. This transition not only boosts efficiency and scalability but also presents opportunities for integrating cutting-edge technologies. This work is crucial for future-proofing our policing resourcing needs, ensuring the NPoCC Mercury service remains at the forefront of law enforcement for years to come. Informed Solutions’ AWS expertise and highly collaborative, flexible delivery approach were critical to achieving success and we look forward to continuing to develop the Mercury platform for the benefit of policing.”
David Lawton, Technical Director, Informed Solutions also added: “The ongoing development of the Mercury platform exemplifies the transformative power of technology in promoting collaborative policing. We take great pride in our continued partnership with NPoCC, working collaboratively to enhance and adapt the Mercury platform’s capabilities. This latest strategic re-platforming further enhances NPoCC’s security posture and ability to leverage innovative new technologies.
“Large-scale strategic projects like this require collaboration and innovation but, delivered in the right way, they also show the art of the possible when it comes to migrating national-scale critical services to the cloud. We are very proud to be continuing to support NPoCC and helping it stay at the forefront of innovation in the policing sector.”