Home Office plots £10m project to exit core police datacentre

Government-owned Hendon Data Centre – located alongside the Met’s training facility – is home to the Police National Computer, a database of more than 130 million items being retired after 50 years

The Home Office is planning a £10m project to safely migrate all systems and services out of the highly secure datacentre facility that has housed policing’s core national database for the past 50 years.

The Hendon Data Centre – located at the same north London site as the Metropolitan Police’s main training college – stores the Police National Computer (PNC). The database is accessed around the clock by hundreds of thousands of frontline officers, police staff, and civil servants, and contains information on 13 million people that have been cautioned or convicted, as well as about a cumulative total of about 120 million entries on vehicles and drivers.

PNC passes its 50th birthday this year and the Home Office is in the process of delivering a major £600m project to replace the platform and rehouse all its data in the new Law Enforcement Data Service. Delivery of the incoming system is due to conclude by the end of the 2025 – with the decommissioning of PNC scheduled to take place from March 2026.

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While the Hendon Data Centre – and its surrounds – is owned and operated by the Home Office, the new system will be hosted in a remote cloud environment. The department is planning a three-year programme of work to manage the transition and migration process, before ultimately ensuring an outcome in which “infrastructure is physically decommissioned, staff based at the data centre are moved to alternative offices in line with policy, [and] the data centre is handed back to Home Office property services” – newly emptied of all data and services. An accompanying “physical library-based service” will also be shuttered as part of the exit programme.

The department wishes to complete this process by March 2027, according to newly published commercial documents. The prior information notice – published ahead a formal contract notice expected next month – states that a supplier will be appointed to a three-year agreement to support the migration and closure exercise. This deal will be worth up to £10m, the Home Office indicated.

“A programme delivery partner is being sought to manage the exit from Hendon data centre… the exit will need to ensure the new data centre is prepared and set up to receive migrated services, services are migrated out of HDC,” the prior information notice said. “Any critical interim sustainment works in HDC [must be] managed and delivered prior to exit. Systems and services will be migrated to alternative data centres, cloud or other destinations the partner will ensure all security, assurance and accreditation is achieved.”

The Home Office expects to open bidding to potential suppliers on or around 29 July, with an agreement with the chosen firm likely to come into effect later this year.

Sam Trendall

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