HMICS Audit and Assurance Review - Facial Search - Terms of Reference

Tuesday, 4 August, 2015

Audit and Assurance Review: Police Scotland’s use of the Facial Search capabilities within the UK Police National Database (PND) Terms of Reference

The aim of this review will be to consider the state, effectiveness and efficiency of the arrangements surrounding the use by Police Scotland of the facial search capabilities contained within the UK Police National Database.

It will be undertaken in terms of the Section 74(2) (a) of the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 and will be laid before the Scottish Parliament in terms of Section 79 (3) of the Act.

This review follows questions directed to the Scottish Government about police use of facial recognition technologies in Scotland and a request from the Cabinet Secretary for Justice to consider including scrutiny of this area in its programme.

The terms of reference for this audit and assurance review are designed to enable HMICS to independently consider the statutory frameworks that underpin the police use of biometric images in Scotland, Police Scotland’s current practice and assess compliance with internal policy.

The processes and governance with regard to recording, weeding and retention of information by Police Scotland and the interface between its Criminal History System (CHS) and the wider UK PND will be looked at.

For completeness it will also provide comparisons with the way PND facial search is used in England and Wales and consider the wider policing and societal opportunities and threats which arise from the police use of new and emerging biometric technologies.

It is understood that Police Scotland has been using the facial searching functionality on PND since 2014 to identify suspected criminals and Police Scotland has advised that, at May 27, 2015, it has used PND 494 times for facial searches.

It is envisaged that this review will be completed in autumn 2015.

To see the full Terms of Reference follow link.

Publication type: 
Local Authority: 
National