Scottish Biometrics Commissioner Bill

04 June 2019

The Scottish Biometrics Commissioner Bill was created as a result of the HMICS Audit and Assurance Review of the use of the Facial Search functionality within the UK Police National Database (PND) by Police Scotland, published 27 January 2016.

The Bill will create a new Biometrics Commissioner who will have oversight of the collection, use, retention and disposal of biometric data in the context of policing and criminal justice. The new oversight arrangements will help to ensure that the approach taken to the use of biometric data by Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority is lawful, ethical and effective; and will promote good practice and consistent standards.

The audit and assurance review by HMICS followed on from questions directed to the Scottish Government in 2015 relative to the police use of facial recognition technologies in Scotland. The HMICS recommendations for the creation of a Scottish Biometrics Commissioner, and related Code of Practice, were subsequently endorsed in the report of an Independent Advisory Group on biometric data established by Scottish Government and chaired by Solicitor Advocate John Scott QC, published in January 2018.