Scottish Government appoints Dr Liz Aston to chair new IAG on policing

The Justice Secretary, Hamza Yousef, has invited Dr Liz Aston, Associate Professor of Criminology at Edinburgh Napier, to chair a new Independent Advisory Group on New and Emerging Technologies in Policing.

The IAG is being established to report on whether current legal or ethical frameworks need to be updated in order to ensure Police Scotland’s use of emerging technologies in relation to operational policing is compatible with human rights legislation and best practice.

Dr Aston has an outstanding record of collaborative research on policing both in Scotland and in Europe, including involvement in major international projects on community policing and stop and search.

Since 2018 she has been Director of the Scottish Institute for Policing Research, a strategic collaboration between the Police Service of Scotland and 14 of Scotland’s universities. It offers a range of opportunities for relevant, applicable research to help the police meet the challenges of the 21st century, several of which are outlined in its latest annual report.

Dr Aston’s latest appointment follows her recent role as chair of the Police Scotland External Reference Group on Cyber Kiosks (digital triage devices), which ended in December 2019. She also participated in Unity – an Horizon 2020 EC-funded project on community policing. It explored the use of technology to enhance communication with the public, with Dr Aston acting as co-lead for the Ethical, Legal and Social Implications work package.

In 2019, Dr Aston delivered the keynote address at the Centre for Policing and Security’s 30th Anniversary Conference on Technology and Legitimacy in Policing, speaking on Street Policing in Smart Societies.

Last year she also directed the Scottish International Policing Conference on Digital Policing and Technology.

Her latest appointment will see the delivery, by early 2022, of a report to the Justice Secretary including specific recommendations or concrete products (such as a code of practice) to address any identified issues with new and emerging technologies.

Dean appointed to FSA Committee on Toxicity

Edinburgh Napier University’s Dean of Applied Sciences Gary Hutchison has recently been appointed to the Committee on Toxicity advising the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

The FSA is an independent government department that works across England, Wales and Northern Ireland to protect consumers from any potential food safety issues, by making sure food is safe – and is precisely what it claims to be – by using the best scientific evidence.

The Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) is an independent scientific committee that provides advice to the Food Standards Agency, the Department of Health and other Government Departments and Agencies on matters concerning the toxicity of chemicals.

Due to Gary’s background in reproductive and development toxicity and particle toxicology, he has also been invited to join the FSA Register of Specialists.

As a member of the Register of Specialists, Gary will now be on a list of pre-approved experts whom the FSA can call on to carry out any scientific and technical work. This work will involve providing evidence, analysis or expert advice on risk assessment and other scientific issues relevant to food safety and regulated food products and food processes. As well as this, Gary’s expert knowledge will be called upon to provide peer review and appraisal of research questions and proposals.

The work that Gary will do with the FSA will benefit UK consumers directly by helping ensure the safety of food and the effective, evidence-based regulation of the food industry.

Professor Gary Hutchison