Independent advisory group on emerging technologies in policing minutes: August 2021

Minutes from the group's meeting on 26 August 2021.

Attendees and apologies

  • Dr Elizabeth Aston, Edinburgh Napier University (chair)
  • Andrew Hendry, Police Scotland 
  • Irene Henery. Equality and Human Rights Commissioner
  • Diego Quiroz, Scottish Human Rights Commissioner
  • Jenny Brotchie, Information Commissioner's Office
  • Professor Bill Buchanan, Napier University
  • Dr Angela Daly, Strathclyde University
  • Barry Sillers, Scottish Police Authority (SPA)
  • Professor Burkhard Schafer, Edinburgh University
  • Ken Dalling, Law Society of Scotland
  • Scott Ross, SPA (for item on workstream templates)
  • Kirsty-Louise Campbell, Police Scotland (for item on workstream templates)
  • Sam Curran, SPA (for item on workstream templates) 

Scottish Government secretariat (SG)

  • Graham Thomson
  • Ryan Paterson
  • Louise Robertson
  • Elaine Hamilton 


  • Georgie Henley, techUK
  • Elaine Galbraith, HMICS
  • Stephen Ferguson, COPFS
  • Heather Burns, Open Rights Group

Items and actions


The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting. The Chair welcomed Ken Dalling to the IAG and Elaine Hamilton to the meeting.

GT confirmed that parliament returns next week and on Tuesday the new Programme for Government will be announced (N.B. Programme for Government announcement was postponed until following week). The Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Veterans and the Minister for Community Safety will appear before the new Criminal Justice Committee the following day.

GT confirmed that the new Director of SPA Forensic Services was announced yesterday. Fiona Douglas take up her role on 1 October 2021 following the retirement of Tom Nelson. She is currently Head of Strategy and Change at SPA Forensic Services.

GT confirmed that SPA Board yesterday discussed transformational change, supported by three papers which are publicly available and will be shared by the Secretariat in due course. Highlighted that this topic was broader than emerging technologies but really interesting discussion and papers.

Action: SG to send out SPA papers.

The Chair invited BS and AH to comment on the SPA meeting yesterday – BS commented that the detail is in the papers that SG will share with the Group. Confirmed that SPA Policing Performance Committee will take place on 1 September and will look into cyber implementation, relevant to the IAG’s work.

The Chair confirmed that minutes from the previous meeting on 26 May 2021 are available on the IAG website. Also confirmed that all workstream (WS) and update templates have been shared with members for awareness/ comments ahead of this meeting.

Call for evidence update

Chair confirmed that deadline was last Friday 20 August. 8 Responses received and 2 extensions granted until 3 September. SG will wait until all responses received and then issue accordingly for the Chair and then IAG to consider. For individual WS we propose to break the responses down to those that are relevant for each WS.

Chair proposed to extend the Call for a further 2 weeks until 17 September to gather further responses due to summer leave period and this call is integral to the WS work. Group agreed to extend the call for evidence. GT suggested that a 4 week extension may elicit more responses. BS mentioned that Group should let the organisations/individuals that have already provided responses know that an extension is being granted but that the IAG value their responses and that the extension is to help gather more evidence moving forward.

Action: SG to give 4 week extension to the call for evidence.

Action: SG to email existing Call for Evidence respondents and advise of extension and thank them for their previous submissions.

Research call update

The Chair confirmed that no bids have been received for this tender after some positive movement and this could be due to summer leave and existing priorities

The Group discussed the next steps in regards to the research proposal. The Group agreed to issue a wider tender to try and encompass more individuals/organisations. AD made a suggestion of someone to consider approaching.

JB asked if any feedback was received. Chair commented it was due to annual leave and work capacity/volume of work/short timescales/deadlines that no bids were received. IH asked about the possibility to split the work to smaller parts. Chair confirmed it could be considered but would it be less attractive to have 2 smaller bids.

Action: SG officials to work with SG procurement to encompass more individuals/organisations to tender bids.

Chair gave an update that Heather Burns will no longer be working at ORG due to funding cuts and the ORG will be withdrawing from the IAG and HB had nominated a possible replacement in Amnesty International Scotland. DQ mentioned that Privacy International could also be another option to explore.

Action: Secretariat to engage with Amnesty as a possible replacement for the Open Rights Group Scotland and to link with DQ.

Workstream leads to update on progress

The Chair gave an update in relation to the Legislation and Ethical Standards WS. Chair confirmed a meeting had taken place before the summer and another was planned after the Call for Evidence responses were received. This will now be moved to after the extended deadline. The tendered research was a key aspect of this WS which will now need to be pushed back. Chair went through the individual key focus areas and confirmed with attending members which were progressing or experiencing delays.

BB gave an update in relation to the Evidence and Scientific Standards WS. BB confirmed that progress was made initially but experienced delays over the summer period due to leave. Confirmed that they are focusing on 3 areas moving forward, with a particular focus around Innovation/How Police Scotland adopt new practices regarding new technology

BB asked if Call for Evidence responses could be summarised to show what areas have been highlighted. GT confirmed that SG could provide a quick fire summary of the Call for Evidence when the minutes come out for comments.

BS suggested we could change the name from a Call for Evidence to a softer phrase such as a consultation to garner more responses. JB mentioned the possibility of public panels/roundtables to gather more views.

Chair asked BB if further assistance could be provided to this WS due to timeframes of the whole IAG. BB commented that a roundtable would be a good idea but unable to confirm if further assistance would be needed as just back from summer leave period. Chair confirmed that she will engage with BB out with this meeting regarding possible assistance.

SC confirmed that some work had been progressed on how evidence/scientific standards are used to inform new technologies and a brief report has been drafted. Also looked at the business case/scientific cases for new technology by Police Scotland – good work going on in this area. Commented that he would need to check with Police Scotland as no member in WS2.

Action: BB to share latest key focus update template with SG.

Action: SG to share Call for Evidence responses.

Action: chair to engage with BB regarding assistance for WS2.

KLC gave an update in relation to the Consultation and Community Engagement WS. Confirmed the WS has been progressing well, had paused for the summer break and was now picking up again. Continuing to look in depth at evidence of best practice of engagement/consultation. Aspiration would be to draft a framework and then compare it against a live case study. Confirmed the next meeting of the WS is in September.

GT asked about the live case study and KLC confirmed they are considering Police Scotland’s consultation on Body Worn Video.

SR gave an update in relation to the Oversight, Scrutiny and Review WS. SR confirmed that progress has been made in relation to the 6 key focus areas that the WS is looking at. Awaiting Call for Evidence responses to continue certain areas of work.

BS asked if parliamentary oversight was in scope of the IAG’s work. Chair thought the WS could look at state bodies, third sector, parliamentary committees and civil society organisations to at least to mention the roles of these and where they sit in the scrutiny landscape.GT thought at least a mention of parliamentary oversight/scrutiny would be useful. DQ commented that parliamentary oversight is very important from a Human Rights viewpoint.

GT mentioned that during this parliamentary session there will be the Criminal Justice Committee and the Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee that might have an interest in this area.

Timescales moving forward

The Chair spoke about the need to move the IAG work forward and if the current timeframe was achievable. The Chair ran through a number of timetable scenarios to take into account the delay in obtaining the research assistance for WS1, a Call for Evidence extension and to allow the WS more time to complete accurate/detailed reports that would inform recommendations.

The Group agreed that they would prefer an extended timeframe to allow a better final report/recommendations to be produced. The Group also spoke about the possibility of producing an interim report in Spring 2022. The Chair confirmed that they will work with SG to speak to Ministers to see if an extended timeframe would be possible.

Action: Chair/SG to engage with Ministers regarding IAG timetable.

Possible request to make IAG’s work more accessible

The Chair raised the possibility to make the work of the IAG more accessible to the public, to share the relevant documents that would align with the meeting minutes such as:

  • Police Scotland Body Worn Video presentation that was presented back in March
  • key focus Areas that each WS is looking at
  • individual draft reports that have been produced by Group members to inform the IAG’s work

The group agreed that they would make more information publicly available, in particular the Key Focus Areas that each WS is focusing on. Members were in agreement that they would not wish to share draft documents that are being developed and used to assist in the preparation of the IAG’s reports and recommendations. 

Action: SG to go to Members to ascertain which documents they would wish to make public and/or agree which documents they would wish not to, due to the formulation of the IAG report/recommendations.

Any other business


Date of next meeting

The chair confirmed that the next meeting of the IAG would take place on 17 November 2021 from 11am to 1pm.

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