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

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 31 May 2022.

Attendees and apologies

Attendees and apologies

  • Dr Elizabeth Aston – Edinburgh Napier University (Chair)
  • Georgie Henley - techUK
  • Barry Sillers - Scottish Police Authority  
  • Jenny Brotchie - Information Commissioner’s Office
  • Ken Dalling – Law Society of 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
  • Louise Robertson


  • Naomi McAuliffe – Amnesty International 

Items and actions

Chair update  

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting. 

The minutes of the last meeting have been agreed and are now published on the SG website. The chair advised that the final draft of the work stream 3 report has now been received. Comments have now been passed on to the research team on their draft. 

Work stream updates 


AD gave an update on the WS1 report. 

AD is currently at the stage of putting the recommendations together and stressed that the report was still subject to change. . Some sections of the report may naturally run longer. There is overlap between the different sections and some sections still require work. It is recognised there is an imbalance in favour of the legal perspective. It was also noted that most case studies have been taken from Police Scotland and this needs to be take into account when looking at the balance of the final report. Reconciling perspectives may be challenging. One option may be to put the Police Scotland material in boxes so it is clear that this comes from a specific perspective. 

LA suggested that it may be helpful for the writing team to go back to the original key focus working document for more detail. It was noted that one issue that has arisen is that some technology is too controversial to take forward, even if it is legal. It is also recognised that there are ethical issues with some companies which need to be considered during the procurement process. It will be helpful to have more input from group members but also from Police Scotland.

KLC offered to assist in getting the necessary information from Police Scotland. KLC questioned how too controversial is defined – this is difficult in practical terms. AD agreed that this was difficult. There is no capacity in the group to develop principles for this. Creating guidance may be a point for further work. Police need to be aware of controversy around new technology. Stakeholder engagement can assist with this. There may be an opportunity to cover this more fully in the final report. 

SR noted that there may be opportunities for crossover with workstream 4. A victim viewpoint is largely absent from WS1. AC has been looking into this and has issues getting access to Police Scotland information. There may need to be perspectives in boxes so that alternative vies are covered. AD would encourage contributions to the report rather than comments. At this stage the writing team are not able to do research so contributions are more useful. JB noted that technology can be controversial for several reasons and the fix depends on the issue. It can be an issues of lack of understanding in which case more explanation helps. If the controversy is around the technology being unfair in a technological fix is needed. JB is happy to provide a view on data protection law in terms of the fairness of new technology. 

AP: LA asked that ICO contributed a paragraph on data protection law. Any input to WS1 should be given by 14th of June


BB gave an update on WS2. 

The WS2 report gives the background of how technology is dealt with in Police Scotland and gives a comparison with health. There is chapter based on GH’s work which asked SME’s about their view on innovation in Police Scotland. There is also consideration of how data can be used and shared. 

LA will provide full comments on the draft but noted that the chapter titles could possibly be clearer. JB will look at the report from a data sharing and data protection law prospective.  KD noted that there is an issue with giving general advice in the reports, without knowing specifics. Have to be aware how this can be applied in practice. It is important to note that the report is not just addressed to the police. As with WS1, BB would appreciate contributions to the draft rather than comments. 

AP: LA asked if all members could provide comments on the WS2 report within the next ten days (by 8th June) to allow changes to be made in advance of the face to face meeting on 21 June. 

LA noted that the group’s report is likely to have value internationally as not a lot of work has been done in this area. LA will need write the bulk of the final report in June in advance of the summer holiday period. 

BS advised that resource would be available within EHRC in the next two weeks to provide a contribution. A standalone equality and human rights section would be best as this would benefit from being looked at separately. 

AP: RP will share the link to the work stream 1 report to allow other group members to contribute. 

Interim report 

LA explained the initial draft of the interim report. This is mainly factual and covers progress made by the group rather than giving recommendations. LA would appreciate detailed comment. 

SR commented that this was a good length though questioned if the all the membership detail was needed. LA feels that this is important to show engagement but agreed it would possibly be better as an appendix. 

The interim report will be delivered to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Veterans after the meeting on the 21st of June. LA would like initial comments by the 8th of June to allow a further version to be circulated after the 14th in advance of the 21st of June meeting. 


The research team final report will be available by the 10th of June.

The next meeting will be face to face on the 21st of June at Victoria Quay. Given some members will still be joining remotely RP asked that attendees arrived by 9:30 ,if possible, to allow for the room setup. This meeting will focus on work stream 1 but will consider all work stream reports. LA will circulate a draft version of the final report to members in early July. LA has a meeting with Graham Thomson of the Scottish Government next week. 

LA closed the meeting and thanked members for their attendance and work so far. 

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