Independent advisory group on emerging technologies in policing minutes: February 2022

Minutes from the group's meeting on 24 February 2022.

Attendees and apologies


  • Dr Elizabeth Aston – Edinburgh Napier University (Chair)
  • Georgie Henley - techUK
  • Elaine Galbraith – Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland
  • Stephen Ferguson – Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service 
  • Professor Bill Buchanan – Edinburgh Napier University 
  • Professor Angela Daly - Dundee University
  • Kirsty-Louise Campbell – Police Scotland 
  • Bill Stevenson - Equality and Human Rights Commission 
  • Scott Ross - Scottish Police Authority 
  • Sam Curran - Scottish Police Authority 

Scottish Government Secretariat (SG):

  • Ryan Paterson
  • Elaine Hamilton 
  • Louise Robertson


  • Professor Burkhard Schafer - Edinburgh University
  • Andrew Hendry - Police Scotland
  • Anil Gupta - COSLA  
  • Barry Sillers - Scottish Police Authority  
  • Jenny Brotchie - Information Commissioner’s Office
  • Ken Dalling – Law Society of Scotland 
  • Naomi McAuliffe – Amnesty International 

Items and actions

Chair update  

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting. 

The Chair confirmed that the Scottish Human Rights Commission will not be able to offer a replacement for DQ due to staffing issues but will contribute where required (DQ will continue to work with the group but now works for the Scottish Biometrics Commissioner). The Chair noted it was important that the work streams were meaningfully engaged with external organisations and would welcome any suggestions of who could be brought in to replace the SHRC membership. 

Action point (AP): members to think/suggest to the Secretariat who could be brought in to replace the SHRC membership

The Chair gave an update on the work of the IAG overall. The Chair met the Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Veterans in December where it was confirmed that the interim report will be delivered in June and the final report in September 2022. The minutes from the 17 November are now available on the Scottish Government website. The Chair gave a presentation about the IAG at the recent Joint (Police Scotland and SPA) Research and Evidence Forum event. This was recorded but the presentation can be circulated if this is of interest. The Chair had highlighted her capacity issues at the last meeting. AD will now co-chair work stream 1. Other colleagues in this work stream (TM, DQ and AC) will assist with the writing of the work stream 1 report. 

Research update

The Chair gave an update on the commissioned research. This has now been commissioned through SIPR following two procurement rounds by the Scottish Government which did not receive any bids. A team from Stirling University led by Dr Niall Hamilton-Smith is now in place. The research team’s work will primarily feed into work streams one and two. The team have been involved in desk based work so far and will soon be undertaking interviews with key stakeholders. 

Work stream updates 

Workstream 1 (WS1)

AD gave an update on WS1. This work stream is still collating and analysing the work contributed by members so far. AC and TM are also considering the call for evidence responses. The work stream members who will be writing the report are meeting regularly in addition to the meeting of the full work stream. 

  • Key Focus Area (KFA) 1, 2 and 9 are reliant on the commissioned research. DQ’s paper will also contribute to KF1  
  • KFA3 – AC has produced a paper for KF3 on the lessons learned (focusing on legislation and ethical standards) from adoption of new technology in Police Scotland
  • Dennis Hamill (Police Scotland) has produced material on the legal basis for the adoption of technology in Police Scotland which contributes to KFA 4 which now requires input from others
  • KFA5 will be covered by both the commissioned research, the EHRC paper and BS’s paper on the EU AI Act this also covers good practice from other jurisdictions
  • Dennis Hamill has provided example material on impact assessments from Police Scotland for KFA 6. TM’s dissertation will also contribute to this
  • KFA7 Dennis Hamill has provided information from Police Scotland on ethics panels which now requires further input   
  • KFA8 is led by Andrew Alexander (Law Society). It was noted that there is also some overlap between key focus areas 

Worksteam 2 (WS2) 

BB gave an update on WS2:

  • KFA1 – SC has produced a document which maps the role research and evidence plays in the adoption and implementation of new technologies. SC explained his paper to the group
  • KFA2 is reliant on the commissioned research 
  • Police Scotland will be asked to provide documents to the group for KFA3
  • KFA4 is reliant on the commissioned research
  • Matthias Wienroth has undertaken an initial literature review for KFA 5. This considers the barriers (and facilitators) to research and innovation in policing. BB to review this. 
  • KFA6 - GH (with SR) has produced a questionnaire and sent this on to industry contacts. Fifteen responses have been received. These are currently being analysed. There will be a workshop on the 17th of March between Police Scotland, SPA and representatives from industry
  • KFA7 there is overlap between this KFA and the others

The chair asked various questions about the focus of the work.

AP: Bill Buchanan will link with Police Scotland contacts around the issue of data sharing, including with community partners related to KFA3 

The Chair asked for the group’s views on including SPA Forensic Services in the remit of this work stream. It was agreed that where possible the SPA forensic services aspect of policing should be considered by all work streams where relevant.

Workstream 3 (WS3)

KLC gave an update and presentation on WS3: 

This work stream has focussed on eight substantive areas:

  • role of public engagement
  • gathering evidence and best practice including a literature review
  • expertise needed – engagement with specialists in design and delivery
  • inclusive and accessible framework for involvement – understanding the journey of consultation and engagement
  • colleague engagement
  • opportunities beyond consultation and engagement 
  • wider opportunities – public confidence 
  • approach that will test review and evaluate any public engagement and participation

The group has been developing a toolkit to establish if formal consultation or other engagement approaches are more useful. 

Underpinning principles for engagement have been agreed. Working with Women’s Aid on the use of body worn video has been used as a case study. 

The principles have been agreed within the sub-group and in conversations with Police Scotland and externally. These have been tested with the approach to the use of body worn video. 

The next steps for WS3 will be:

  • workshop with colleagues in early March to consider principles for engagement, framework and toolkit
  • involve the wider group in the final version of the report to be passed on to the chair
  • KLC will share the update presentation with the group.

Workstream (WS4)

SR gave an update on WS4. A draft report has been produced and this has already been considered by the Chair, with questions raised and comments provided. The report considers the governance mechanisms that are now in place and how these can be further enhanced at various points in the lifecycle, from the assessment of the initial concept, case for change, decision making and approvals through to project delivery and business as usual. The report also highlights the importance of ethical considerations in governance and the balance to be struck when using technology. 

The chair suggested that it would be best for the group to be asked to provide comment on the draft report by a certain date. It will also be necessary to get more independent and external input on this, a couple of academics have already agreed to do this. 

AP: To proactively request input from the Law Society, SHRC, EHRC and Amnesty to add a civil society aspect to the work

Next steps

WS1 and WS2 are now progressing the work areas where they do not require research input, including the call for evidence responses. This work will continue through March and April. Draft reports from WS1 and WS2 will be shared as soon as they are available. The WS3 report will be shared for comment in the coming weeks and a meeting to discuss this will be arranged given the length of time until the next full meeting in May. 

AP: Once we know when the WS3 report will be available secretariat to arrange a meeting for three weeks later to allow the group to consider their comments

The Chair will begin to write the interim report once all the work stream reports are available. The Chair would like to keep the interim report brief and high level with detail of the KFA and the work completed so far. 

Work streams will continue to meet as necessary and the Chair will begin work on both the interim report and the final report. The Chair will need to write the final report in May and June to allow time for the draft to be considered before September. 

A face to face meeting was not possible in January due to COVID restrictions. It may be the follow up meeting for the WS3 report could possibly be held face to face. It was agreed that this would be beneficial. 

AP: Secretariat to arrange a face to face meeting for April (after the Easter Holidays). WS1 and WS2 to provide their work so far if a final report is not available. 


Diego Quiroz (on behalf of the Scottish Biometrics Commissioner) has shared an extract from their Code of Practice. This can be shared confidentially within the group but should not be made public. 

AP: Secretariat will share this will all members 

The Chair asked if there was any other groups or individuals who should be asked to input into the work of the group. If so, any names can be shared with the Chair and Secretariat directly. 

The next meeting is arranged for the 31 May. A further meeting, ideally face to face, will be arranged for late April. The Chair thanked everyone for their attendance and closed the meeting. 

Back to top