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

Minutes from the meeting held on Wednesday 26 May 2021 by the Independent advisory group on emerging technologies in policing.

Attendees and apologies

  • Dr Elizabeth Aston, Edinburgh Napier University (Chair)
  • Heather Burns, Open Rights Group
  • Andrew Hendry, Police Scotland 
  • Irene Henery, Equality and Human Rights Commissioner
  • Diego Quiroz,Scottish Human Rights Commissioner
  • Jenny Brotchie, Information Commissioner's Office
  • Georgie Henley, techUK
  • Stephen Ferguson, COPFS
  • Elaine Galbraith, HMICS
  • Scott Ross, SPA
  • Kirsty-Louise Campbell, Police Scotland (for item on workstream templates)

Scottish Government Secretariat (SG)

  • Graham Thomson
  • Ryan Paterson
  • Leigh Paterson 


  • Professor Bill Buchanan, Napier University
  • Dr Angela Daly, Strathclyde University
  • Barry Sillers, SPA
  • Professor Burkhard Schafer, Edinburgh University
  • Mike Callaghan, COSLA 

Items and actions


The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting. Confirmed that minutes from the previous meeting on 11 March 2021 are available on the IAG website. Also confirmed that all Workstream templates have been shared with members for comments ahead of this meeting.

Secretariat confirmed that a Scottish Government reply was issued in response to the Justice Sub-Committee’s report on Policing - Police Scotland’s use of remote piloted aircraft systems and body worn video as the ETIAG was referenced.

Secretariat also confirmed that responses should be forthcoming from Police Scotland and Scottish Police Authority regarding the Sub-Committee report..

Secretariat also confirmed that a new Cabinet Secretary for Justice (Keith Brown MSP) was now in place and secretariat will feedback any information/comments from the Cabinet Secretary regarding the ETAIG and its work. Confirmed that at this time no Sub-Committee on Policing was in place following the election. Further details should hopefully be known in the coming weeks.

Chair confirmed that she had met with the Scottish Biometrics Commissioner Dr Brian Plastow regarding the ETIAG work. They agreed that they would avoid potential overlap in each other’s areas of work and agreed to keep in contact.

Scottish Human Rights Commission - Human Rights and New Technology in Policing 

Diego provided a high level summery of the Human Rights and New Technology in Policing Paper (Paper 3) and invited questions/comments

The Group commented that:

  • Jenni highlighted the ICO’s guidance on Artificial Intelligence, Accountability and the ICO opinion on Live Facial Recognition
  • Andrew spoke about the timing of considerations and asked when is the right time to consider human rights in regards to new technology. Diego confirmed that human rights considerations should be considered in development, deployment and application of any new technology.  
  • Chair spoke about the need for an ongoing rolling review across new technology in regards to human rights. Scott confirmed this from a SPA perspective. 

Diego happy to be contacted with specific comments/suggestions regarding this paper

Action: IAG Members to forward comments/suggestions to Diego by Friday 4 June,

Workstream Templates Discussion 

Chair talked to the detail set out in the Legislation and Ethical Standards Template (Paper 2), drawing attention to key focus areas and the potential need to commission research due to the size and scope of the workstream. Happy to received comments by email or via Objective Connect.

Georgina spoke to the Evidence and Scientific Standards Template (Paper 3) and the Chair confirmed she had made suggested additions that morning, and therefore the Template was still a work in progress. It was noted that some more work could be done to set out clearly how the work would be taken forward.  

Chair confirmed that Stephen Roberts (Home Office Accelerated Capability Environment), Tom Nelson (Directors of SPA Forensic Services) and Dr Matthias Wienroth to join this Workstream. Possible case study to be completed on Cyber Security. 

Kirsty provided a summary of the Consultation and Community Engagement Template (Paper 4) and would be happy to receive comments by email or via Objective Connect.

Kirsty confirmed that the Workstream is looking to create a new framework to take into account any new technology that will embed engagement and participative approaches.

Scott confirmed details of the Oversight, Scrutiny and Review Template (Paper 5) and would also be happy to received comments by email or via Objective Connect.

Andrew asked for more clarity on this paper and what this Workstream would cover, asking about the scope of the oversight and scrutiny that would be explored.  Scott happy to link in with Andrew to provide more clarity in regards to this Workstream and its template 

IAG members confirmed that certain areas would overlap into each Workstream and this would need to be carefully managed  

Action: Scott to engage with Andrew around clarity of Oversight, Scrutiny and Review  Workstream.

Additional Research

Through discussion it was agreed by the Chair, workstream leads and other members that additional research would not be needed for the Consultation and Community Engagement and Oversight, Scrutiny and Review Workstreams and the work of these Streams could be progressed with resources identified in the workstream template.. 

Chair confirmed that Legislation and Ethical Standards Stream had a good handle of what additional research they might need and also how this could be completed.

In respect of whether additional research capacity was needed for the Evidence and Scientific Standards Workstream, Georgina confirmed that she would happy to bring in thoughts/contributions from the wider tech UK side. Chair confirmed that she will invite Megan O’Neill as a SIPR representative to replace her in this area. It was agreed that further work was required to determine whether additional research capacity was required, and that this would be prioritised by the workstream in order that work can progress to develop a research proposal.

Action: Secretariat to commence work to develop research proposal incorporating additional research needs identified by Legislation and Ethical Standards Workstream, and potentially, the Evidence and Scientific Standards Workstream.

Action: Chair to take additional research point forward with Bill/Georgina at next meeting. 

Action: Chair to invite Megan O’Neill has a SIPR replacement in the Stream 

Call for evidence

Chair invited comments for the call for evidence and noted that suggested calls were already held within each template. Chair was happy to take comments via email over the next week in regards to this.

Secretariat commented that based on the templates, the calls are looking at a broad range of questions and we would need to disseminate the call as wide as possible.

Chair asked for the Streams to clarify in their templates who the call for evidence would be targeted at and whether they had any dissemination channels that would be of use.

The Groups discussed the timescales in regards to the call for evidence. Discussed the possibly of an early August deadline which would necessitate the call being made in early to late June to allow it to run for 6 weeks.

Action: Members to clarify who the call for evidence should be reaching and any dissemination channels they would like to use or provide access to.

Action: Secretariat to look at logistics to get a call for evidence out by mid-June.

Any other business


Next meeting date

Chair confirmed the next IAG meeting would take place on 26 August between 11:00 – 13:00.

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