Expert panel on emergent technologies

Police has an external, independent, expert panel to provide advice and oversight from an ethical and policy perspective of emergent technologies.

The expert panel operates as a reference group to which we will refer proposed policing applications of new and emergent technology (or significant enhancements of existing technology-enabled capabilities) on an as-needs basis.

The panel’s primary role is to provide advice and oversight from an ethical and policy perspective of emergent technologies. While advice will be received and considered in confidence, Police is committed to making the expert panel’s advice public wherever possible - acknowledging this may not be possible in every case, for example where disclosure would breach commercial obligations.

This panel supports Police’s commitment to carefully weigh privacy, security, and ethical consideration before looking at adding to its technology-enabled capabilities.

This will help provide assurance to the public that any major decision has been well considered and tested through an independent group.

Mid-term ‘Health Check’ of the Expert Panel

As a newly established advisory body, a mid-term review of how the Panel is working was written into its Terms of Reference; and the expectation was set, with both the Panel members and the sponsoring Police Executives, that an arms-length review of the Panel’s operations and Terms of Reference would be conducted after 12-18 months. This type of review is consistent with a best practice approach to advisory bodies operating in a governance environment, and is not an indication any particular concerns exist with the way the Panel is operating.  The aim of the review is to confirm that the Panel is functioning as intended, and its Terms of reference remain fit for purpose – but also, in the spirit of continuous improvement, to identify potential opportunities to make any sensible refinements or enhancement.

The review was completed by a specialist consulting firm in May 2023 and the key findings are:

The Panel is functioning as intended

It provides robust advice on proposals put to it. The membership is highly capable.

The issues the Panel considers are increasingly topical, and the Panel approach is in line with good practice in other jurisdictions.

During the review, a new Chair was appointed from the existing members – Professor Michael Macauley. There are always transition issues in appointing a new Chair – these will be smoothed out given the appointment of an existing member and Acting Chair.

One of the major issues raised in the review was the need to strengthen the expertise in Treaty issues and te ao Māori perspectives. During the course of the review Dr Lindsey Te Ata o Tū MacDonald was appointed to the Panel – and brings expertise in these areas. This is an issue which needs to be kept front of mind whenever there are membership changes.


There are small operational improvements that can be made

The effectiveness and efficiency of the Panel could be improved by having greater transparency of their advice through restructuring the website to make the advice/documentation easier to find.

Producing regular reporting, perhaps half yearly, on the Panel’s activities and the actions taken in response to the advice would also be helpful.


While it’s still relatively early in the tenure of the Panel, the advice provided has been helpful

Few of the technology proposals considered have been entirely through their life cycle from development to implementation. So, it’s hard to fully assess the Panel's effectiveness at this stage. But the advice has shed further light on the risks of proposals, led to refinements in policies and proposals, and meant that some development had been discontinued.


The terms of reference are fit for purpose

Our overall conclusion is that the terms of reference provide appropriate guidance for the work of the Panel and the relationship with Police. They also allow sufficient flexibility to enable operational processes to be strengthened and streamlined.

The Terms of Reference remain appropriate for the task at hand.


There are opportunities to further improve effectiveness by being more strategic and tactical

But there is the opportunity to widen the Panel’s role by creating a strategic agenda for the Panel. This would further utilise the experience and expertise of the Panel. However, the benefits of this need to be weighed against the time demand on the Panel members.



Biographies of the panel

Professor Michael Macaulay (Panel Chair)

Photo of Professor Michael MacaulayMichael is Professor of Public Administration at the School of Government, Victoria University of Wellington. Michael’s research interests are ethics, integrity and anti-corruption within a public management and policy context. He has authored over 100 peer-reviewed papers, chapter and articles, and is Australasian and Pacific Rim regional editor for Public Management Review.

Away from academia, Michael spent seven years as a judge in the UK (Teesside Bench) and has worked with numerous international government agencies and NGOs: including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Council of Europe, and Transparency International. Within New Zealand, he has co-authored evaluations on NZ Police and the State Services Commission. He has advised State Services Commission, Serious Fraud Office, Ministry of Justice, and numerous other agencies on anti-corruption, workplace misconduct and whistleblowing.


Dr Marion Oswald

Photo of Dr Marion OswaldMarion is Professor in Law (1 Sep 2023) at the University of Northumbria. She researches the interaction between law and digital technology and has a particular interest in the use of information and innovative technology by criminal justice bodies and the wider public sector. Marion regularly writes, speaks and advises on the legal and ethical implications of new technologies. Marion was awarded an MBE in The Queen’s Jubilee Birthday Honours list 2022 for services to digital innovation. From July 2021 - March 2022, Marion was Specialist Adviser to the Justice and Home Affairs Committee advising the Lords Committee on its inquiry into new technologies and the application of the law. From September 2021, Marion has been appointed to the independent Advisory Board of the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, a government expert body focused upon the trustworthy use of data and AI. From November 2021, Marion has been working part-time for the Alan Turing Institute, the UK’s national data science institute, as Senior Research Associate supporting the Safe and Ethical AI Programme, focused in particular on criminal justice and national security.


Professor Jennifer Brown

Photo of Professor Jennifer BrownJennifer is currently a visiting professor at the Mannheim Centre for the study of Criminology and Criminal Justice, London School of Economics and Political Science. She has research interests in and published widely on evidence-based policing, police occupational culture, gender and policing and police decision making in serious crime.

She was a chartered occupational and a chartered forensic psychologist. Jennifer worked for 7 years as a research manager for a British police force thereafter running a forensic psychology masters programme at the University of Surrey. In 2012 she was appointed as the deputy chair of Lord Steven's enquiry into the future of policing in the UK and in 2019 became a member for the Mayor of London's Policing and Crime Ethics Panel.


Dr Lindsey Te Ata o Tū MacDonald (Ngāi Tahu)

Photo of Dr Lindsey Te Ata o Tū MacDonald (Ngāi Tahu)Dr MacDonald is a senior lecturer in political philosophy at the University of Canterbury and a research associate of Kā Waimaero - Ngāi Tahu Centre. His early career was in New Zealand’s State Services Commission and Te Puni Kōkiri (Ministry of Maori Development). He is a member of the University of Canterbury Human Ethics Committee (Chair 2012 - 2016), co-chair of the Aotearoa Research Ethics Trust (which reviews applications from researchers who are unable to access institutional ethics committees) and the Māori research appointee on the National Ethics Advisory Committee on health and disability research and services.



Dr Nessa Lynch

Photo of Dr Nessa LynchDr Nessa Lynch is the Matheson Lecturer in Law, Innovation and Technology at University College Cork, Ireland, and a Research Fellow at the Faculty of Law, Victoria University of Wellington. She was previously the Academic Director of the Royal New Zealand Police College, and prior to that was an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, Victoria University of Wellington, where she researched and taught in criminal law and justice, youth justice, and law and emerging technologies. Her work on biometrics, particularly facial recognition technology, has global reach, and has influenced law, policy and practice. She combines her background in children’s human rights to consider the impact of technology on children and youth. Dr Lynch has a strong interest in the translation of research to policy and practice and has provided expert advice for a range of international, public sector and private sector organisations, including chairing the New Zealand government’s Data Ethics Advisory Group and advising the New Zealand Law Commission on reform of DNA legislation.


Megan Tapsell (Ngāti Whakaue ki Tai, Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga)

Photo of Megan TapsellMs Tapsell is the GM Technology NZ, Enterprise & Pacific at ANZ Bank. External to ANZ, Megan holds multiple industry roles focused on growing emerging or Indigenous technology capabilities. She has been the Chair of the AI Forum of New Zealand for the last four years, focusing on bringing a Te Ao Māori perspective to the Aotearoa community of AI innovators, users, investors, regulators, researchers, educators, and entrepreneurs. She has also worked to promote, connect, and strengthen the adoption of AI in NZ including a focus on diversity, inclusion, safe, and ethical AI. She was also recently appointed to Te Ao Matihiko, a Māori digital board established to position Māori as contributors, beneficiaries, and leaders in the digital age. The combination of these roles ensure that a major focus of her work is bringing consciousness and ethics into technology and the people enabling it, with a specific focus on Māori and Pacific inclusion into the corporate and wider Aotearoa technology industry.



Advice sought from the Panel – we asked, they said, we did

Proposal on a pilot of two geographic profiling algorithms

The Panel were asked to provide advice on a proposal to further develop a pilot of two geographic profiling algorithms.


Report on ‘Safe and ethical use of algorithms’

The panel were asked to consider the report on ‘Safe and ethical use of algorithms’ which Police commissioned from specialist consulting firm, Taylor Fry Pty Ltd.

More information on this can be found in the proactive information releases, under ‘Safe and ethical use of algorithm report and related documents’.


New Technology Policy and Framework

The panel were asked to consider the proposed new principled decision-making framework and Police Instructions for the ‘Trial or adoption of new policing technologies’.

View the policy: Trial or adoption of new policing technology (PDF 662KB)


Proposal to trial Zavy

The panel were asked to provide advice on the proposal to trial a technology call Zavy, a social media sentiment and analytics tool.


Report on ‘Facial Recognition Technology: Consideration for use in Policing’

The Panel were asked to consider the report on Facial Recognition Technology: Consideration for use in Policing, which Police commissioned from Dr Nessa Lynch (an Associate Professor at Victoria University of Wellington) and Dr Andrew Chen (a Research Fellow at the University of Auckland) and provide feedback to assist Dr Lynch and Dr Chen in the review of the report prior to finalisation.

View the final report: Facial recognition technology


Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) Policy

The panel were asked to review the refreshed ANPR policy which has been revised and to replace existing policy.

View the policy: Automatic number plate recognition

Other information on Police use of ANPR platforms can be found in the proactive information releases.