Twitter Feed

Scottish International Policing Conference 2019

Date of event: December 10, 2019

John McIntyre Conference Centre, University of Edinburgh

Click here to view location on Google Maps.

Event Briefing

Digital Policing: Ethical Challenges Regarding the Role of Technology in Policing

This year our conference is themed around the pertinent issue of Digital Policing, particularly focussing on the ethical challenges regarding the role of technology in policing.

Our aim through this conference is to explore ethical, legal, and societal concerns raised by the incorporation of various forms of technology, and the challenge of policing in a digital sphere.

This may range from a consideration of the introduction of mobile working into police organisations, body worn cameras, facial recognition software, artificial intelligence, to social media, cyber security, surveillance and digital forensics, for example. A number of areas are worth considering e.g. public perceptions, experiences and police legitimacy; the impact on police officers and the ability of policing organisations to fulfil their functions; and implications for regulation and governance.

As always, our core goal is to promote sharing of knowledge and experience between all of our delegates who represent a diverse range of disciplines, specialisms, and backgrounds across both the academic and practitioner spheres. With this in mind, we are particularly pleased to welcome, for the first time, our two keynote speakers Mr Stephen Kavanagh, who will present this year’s James Smart Memorial Lecture, and Dr Katerina Hadjimatheou, who will present SIPR’s inaugural Professor Nick Fyfe Lecture.


The James Smart Memorial Lecture – Policing without fear or favour. Is it enough in the Digital Age

Mr Stephen Kavanagh, Former Chief Constable of Essex Police

Stephen James Kavanagh, QPM is a British retired senior police officer with over 33 years of service. He started his policing career with the Metropolitan Police Service, where he worked in homicide and counter-terrorism, and rose to Deputy Assistant Commissioner. In 2013 he was appointed Chief Constable of Essex where he led on transforming the operating culture and IT infrastructure to introduce a more agile and effective workforce.

Mr Kavanagh has contributed to broader policing through his membership of different bodies including as the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) lead for Open Source Intelligence and the first National Police Chief Council (NPCC) lead SRO for the Digital Policing Portfolio. Within this, he was responsible for working across disciplines to coordinate and support the delivery of three key strands of work – Digital Public Contact, Digital Investigations and Intelligence and Digital Criminal Justice.

Mr Kavanagh has earned a Master of Philosophy in Criminology and in 2018 was awarded a Queen’s Policing Medal (QPM) for his distinguished service and contribution to policing in the UK.


The Inaugural Professor Nick Fyfe Lecture – Ethical issues in data-driven policing: emerging trends

Dr Katerina Hadjimatheou, The University of Essex

Dr Hadjimatheou is currently working on the policing and surveillance stream of the ESRC-funded Human Rights, Big Data, and Technology project. Kat’s background is in applied philosophy. Her work examines the ethical and human rights implications of developments in criminal justice and policing, especially around the use of surveillance technologies, data-driven policing, and human trafficking. Katerina is the Chair of Gloucestershire Constabulary’s Ethics Committee. She sits on the UK National Crime Agency’s Independent Reference Group. And she is a member of the Independent Digital Ethics Policing Panel.


The John McIntyre Conference Centre, University of Edinburgh

The event is FREE, but spaces are limited to 150 and must be booked by Friday 6th December 2019  through Eventbrite 



Offer a Poster:

If you are involved in research on topics related to the theme of this Conference, either as an academic or as a practitioner, we would welcome offers of Posters.

Please contact Monica Boyle ( for more information.

Event Programme

08:30 -
- Registration, Tea and Coffee
09:20 -
- Chair's Welcome - Tom Halpin QPM, Scottish Police Authority
09:30 -
- Tom Halpin QPM, Scottish Police Authority
09:45 -
- Deputy Chief Constable William Kerr, Police Scotland
10:00 -
- Ash Denham MSP, Minister for Community Safety
10:15 -
- The 47th James Smart Memorial Lecture: Mr Steven Kavanagh - Policing Without Fear or Favour - Is it Enough in the Digital Age?
11:00 -
- Questions and Discussion
11:10 -
- Tea / Coffee and Displays
11:30 -
- Workshops - Delegates should choose one morning workshop - please see below for further details.

Workshop 1: Frontline policing and technology
Venue: Pentland West Room

In 2018, Police Scotland produced a business case for a major investment in digital, data and ICT over 10 years to modernise the service. The proposed investment would also generate savings and public service improvements for the wider criminal justice system. Mobile Working was part of this investment which will see 10,000 officers equipped with mobile devices by Spring 2020. The roll-out of mobile devices has allowed officers to be more visible within communities, spending more time engaging with members of the public as well as focussing on crime prevention. From the outset, the Mobile Working team understood the need to monitor the benefits of the project. With this in mind, they have utilised an external academic research team to undertake this work. The use of an external academic team in this manner, who are fully independent of the Force, ensures robust scrutiny of the approach to benefits and expert assurance internally and externally that the projected impacts of Mobile Working are being realised in practice.


Martin Low (Police Scotland)
"Practical ICT Matters"

Professor Lesley Diack (Robert Gordon University)
"Cultural change and benefits"

Chief Inspector Martin Gallagher (Police Scotland)
"Mobile working project"

Session Chair:
Chief Superintendent Matthew Richards (Police Scotland)

Superintendent Craig Smith, (Police Scotland)


Workshop 2: Digital Contact for Policing
Venue: Pentland East Room

This session will explore key debates and considerations regarding digital contact in policing. What is the place of digital contact in policing and how should it be embedded in existing models of policing? How might online and face-to-face forms of contact co-exist and be sustained? What practical lessons can be learned from the implementation of a social media based approach to sharing information with the police? What are the implications of online communication for police legitimacy within and outside a police organisation?


Davina Fereday (Police Scotland)
"Creating an accessible and seamless public experience"

Inspector Eleanor Charlston (Metropolitan Police)
"The Met's use of Twitter as a public contact method for submitting information and evidence"

Leam Ralph (Northumbria University)
"Legitimacy on social media inside and outside the police organisation"

Session Chair: Dr Liz Aston (SIPR/Edinburgh Napier University)

Discussant: Dr Helen Wells (Keele University)


Workshop 3: Investigative Innovation and Ethical Consequences Beyond Privacy
Venue: Prestonfield Room

The Home Office’s Accelerated Capability Environment is a public-private partnership within the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism, which applies industry-led innovation and co-creation to public safety and security challenges arising from digital technology and data. In this ACE-led panel session, we will explore some practical ethical issues which sit outside mainstream debate over intrusion and legitimacy, but which are thrown into sharp relief when collaborative work is done at pace – from the consolidation of ethical heuristics, through to working with the most sensitive and disturbing data sets, and the responsible commissioning of zero-day exploits.


Steven Roberts (Vivace, Home Office)
"From Kant and Mill to the Daily Mail test: testing and improving on industry and mission ethical heuristics in an agile environment."

Andy Loukes (ACE, Home Office)
"Technology and reducing harm to investigators: ethical governance and the Child Abuse Image Database (CAID)."

Ian Stevenson (Cyan Forensics)
"Kiosks, the global vulnerabilities equities market and their consequences."

Chair: Stephen Roberts (Vivace, Home Office)

Discussant: DSI Nicola Burnett (Police Scotland)

13:00 -
- Buffet lunch and Poster Exhibition
13:45 -
- Afternoon workshop session

Workshop 4: Cyber Security
Venue: Pentland West Room

This panel will aim to bring together different perspectives of those engaged in research on actors and processes related to ‘governing (cyber)security’ (see Johnston and Shearing, 2003). Each of the presentations cut-across different dimensions of the policing challenging;  from tackling quite niche types of offending, to the more macroscopic and abstract (‘Booting the booters’, offenders experience and understandings of policing, building resilience through user behaviour change, all the way up to the macroscopic view to be provided by Prof. Irons.


Ben Collier (University of Cambridge)
"Booting the Booters: Evaluating Law Enforcement Interventions in the Market for Cyberattacks."

Professor Alastair Irons (University of Sunderland)
"Combating Cybercrime in Today's Society"

Yanna Papadodimitraki (University of Leeds)
"Cyber-transgression in United Kingdom and Greece"

Dr Lynday Shepherd (Abertay University)
"Improving Security Awareness Through Gamification Techniques"

Dr Shane Horgan (Edinburgh Napier University) and Dr Stefano Di Paoli (Abertay University)

Professor Wendy Moncur (University of Dundee)

Dr Ian Ferguson and Dr Natalie Coull (Abertay University)


Workshop 5: Ethics and the State of Surveillance Online
Venue: Pentland East Room

This session will explore research and debate in the ethics of online state surveillance in Britain and further afield. As online communication grows and expands, so do the opportunities for offenders to use these systems, either to execute a crime or to communicate with collaborators. Nation states are building tools and techniques to monitor online communications for the prevention of crime and the apprehension of offenders. However, the extent to which this state activity is regulated and communicated to the public varies from one country to another. We will consider research from the UK and Europe about the ethics of online state surveillance. We will then consider the practical side of implementing ethical online surveillance in rapidly changing field.


Professor William Webster (University of Strathclyde)
"Data Governance: Ethics, Ownership and Oversight"

Giles Herdale (Herdale Digital Consulting)
"Digital investigation compatible with the principles of policing by consent"

Dr Megan O'Neill (University of Dundee), Amy Humphrey (University of Dundee) and, Dr Anna Leppänen (Police University College Finland)
"Trust and Transparency in Online State Surveillance: findings from comparative research"

Dr Angela Daly (University of Strathclyde)
"A view from civil society"

Chair: Amy Humphrey (University of Dundee)

Discussant: Dr Megan O'Neill (University of Dundee)


Workshop 6: Big data and ethical challenges of predictive policing
Venue: Prestonfield room

This workshop will explore the challenges that emerge with the use of potentially transformative new technologies in policing, including those involving data analytics and ‘predictive policing’. Focusing in particular on the ethical issues raised, the workshop will discuss whether and how the risks involved in the use of such technologies can be managed and mitigated.


Professor Charles Raab (University of Edinburgh)
"Law enforcement and digital ethics"

Detective Chief Inspector Chris Todd (West Midlands Police)
"Predictive policing and ethics"

Professor Rosamunde Van Brakel (Free University Brussles)
"Ethical and legal challenges of Big Data for Law Enforcement"

Chair: Dr Richard Jones (University of Edinburgh)

Discussant: Matthew Rice (Open Rights Group, Scotland)

15:15 -
- Afternoon Refreshments - Pentland Suite
15:40 -
- Dr Liz Aston, SIPR Director - SIPR and Introduction to Inaugural Professor Nick Fyfe Lecture
15:55 -
- The Inaugural Professor Nick Fyfe Lecture: Dr Katerina Hadjimatheou - Ethical issues in data-driven policing: emerging trends
16:40 -
- Questions and Discussion

Closing Comments

Conference Close

Event Speaker & Guests

SIPR Newsletter Sign Up

You will be added to our mailing list to keep you updated with future events and activities from the Scottish Institute for Policing Research

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. For further information please read our Privacy Policy.