Digital Policing for Global Events: The COP26 United Nations climate conference

Police working on computers

Written by David Lawton, Technical Director at Informed Solutions, Technical Director, Informed Solutions

Using Agile and DevOps best practice, Informed Solutions has worked with the National Police Coordination Centre (NPoCC) to help transform the way it shares knowledge and manages mutual aid requests for specialist policing capabilities across the UK. The platform was successfully enhanced, tested, and deployed for digital policing support of COP26, the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.

The National Police Coordination Centre (NPoCC) is overseen by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC). It retains oversight of national capacity and capability of specialist policing roles in relation to the Strategic Policing Requirements using the Mercury digital platform to manage and coordinate over 5,000 mutual aid requests every year for all police regions and forces across the UK, supporting the police to meet demand during large scale events, special operations, and in times of national crisis.

In 2021 NPoCC was tasked with supporting Police Scotland’s management of the COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference, held in Glasgow between 31st October and 13th November.  The platform would be used to manage the coordination of mutual aid requests as well as Police Scotland’s own resourcing for COP26, which would include the provision of fast, accurate, and fully secure operational and event management information to national and international policing partners and government stakeholders around the event.

As the strategic digital services partner for NPoCC, our team was selected to enhance, develop, and support the Mercury platform, implementing continuous testing and service improvements in-line with evolving business needs, and to provide service support, testing, and maintenance to ensure service stability and 100% availability in the run-up-to and throughout COP26.

A critical stage of the enhancement before COP26 revolved around quickly and effectively engaging with the user community, including Police Forces and Regional Information and Coordination Centres (RICCs) to understand, prioritise, and test user needs ahead of the global event

Working with NPoCC and Police Scotland teams we delivered user-centred enhancements for planning, coordination, and complete logistical management of police resources using Agile working practices to deliver enhancements and support across key live operational services quickly and effectively.

Alongside this, the team launched and managed a DevOps Continuous Integration and Deployment pipeline, including performance testing and improvements that ensured service quality was met for the significantly increased logistical planning and management information demand through COP26.

 

The enhanced platform provided full logistical, resource planning, and event policing capability for:

  • 15,000 police officers, each on duty for an average 8 days during COP26, totalling over 120,000 police day deployments
  • 7,200 Planning Units (groups of officers sharing specific skills and capabilities)
  • 11,600 Duty Units (allocations to manage correct shift patterns)
  • 7,200 mutual aid requests between collaborating police forces during COP26
  • Full logistics management including accommodation and travel to 235 COP26 management locations
  • Successful global event coordination between 42 police forces.

Following this programme of enhancements, the Mercury digital platform now allows NPoCC to transform and adapt to changes in the modern policing environment by improving data sharing and integration, enhancing data interoperability, and joining-up analytical forecasting for managing nationally and internationally significant events in the future.

The Mercury system is a fantastic example of how the intelligent application of technology can enable collaborative working at a national scale in mission-critical environments.  We’re excited to be working with NPoCC to build on the successes achieved for COP26 with an innovative future roadmap.


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