Thursday, 11 March 2021 - 9:08am |
National News

Next steps in Police’s commitment to the safe and responsible use of emergent technologies

2 min read

Technology is rapidly evolving and emergent technologies have an increasingly important part to play in modern policing.

Today, Police announces its next step in ensuring that any potential significant new technology is well considered first – through a new, independent, expert panel.

“In September 2020, we announced the development of a Police policy to ensure appropriate consideration ahead of the trial or use of new technology capabilities. We also committed to establishing an independent expert panel to advise on technology matters. A six-member panel has now been established,” says Mark Evans, Deputy Chief Executive Insights and Deployment.

The panel will be chaired by Professor Colin Gavaghan from Otago University, who is the Director of the Centre for Law and Policy in Emerging Technologies. The research centre is based at the University of Otago and examines legal, ethical, and policy issues around new technologies.

Professor Colin Gavaghan says leading the panel is a responsibility he takes very seriously.

“Emergent technologies offer great benefits in terms of accuracy and efficiency”, says Professor Gavaghan.

“But particularly in high stakes areas like policing, it’s so important that we watch out for potential pitfalls. Before any new technology is deployed in those sorts of contexts, we need to make sure that we’ve thought through what it might mean for privacy, fairness and human rights,” says Professor Gavaghan.

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.

The first meeting of the panel is expected to take place in April. Biographies of all the panel members can be viewed here. The members are:

  • Professor Colin Gavaghan (chair)
  • Kirikowhai Mikaere (Tūhourangi, Ngāti Whakaue – Te Arawa)
  • Dr Marion Oswald
  • Associate Professor Khylee Quince (Ngapuhi, Te Roroa, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungungu)
  • Professor Michael Macaulay
  • Professor Jennifer Brown

“Our Police staff increasingly use new technology in their day-to-day work, such as CCTV or Automatic Number Plate Recognition. Technology is essential to our business as it enables us to police more effectively, and supports innovation in our work,” says Mr Evans.

“While innovation is critical to delivering an effective police service, it is our duty to ensure that privacy, ethical, and human rights implications have been taken into account before deciding to pilot or introduce new technology capabilities.

“The creation of this panel is the next step, following the introduction of our test and trial policy, in ensuring we understand and assess potential technology and its implications before testing or adopting it.

“The way we police impacts on every person in our communities, so we must do our best to deliver a police service that New Zealanders quite rightly expect and deserve.”


More information is available here