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Independent Advisory Group holds first meeting.

Published : 18/06/2020 14:37:39

The new Independent Advisory Group to look at Police Scotland’s use of new emergency powers to tackle the coronavirus, chaired by leading human rights lawyer John Scott QC Solicitor Advocate, met for the first time yesterday (Thursday 16 April 2020).

The group’s membership currently includes:

  • John Scott QC Solicitor Advocate, Chair of the Independent Advisory Group
  • Susan Kemp, Commissioner, Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC)
  • Professor Susan McVie OBE FRSE, Chair of Quantitative Criminology within the University of Edinburgh’s School of Law
  • Alastair Pringle, Executive Director at the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) 
  • Ephraim Borowski MBE, Chair of Police Scotland’s National Independent Strategic Advisory Group (NISAG)
  • Naomi McAuliffe, Programme Director Scotland, Amnesty International
  • Bruce Adamson, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland
  • John T Logue, Deputy Crown Agent Operational Support, COPFS
  • Martyn Evans,  SPA Board Member
  • DCC Will Kerr, Police Scotland 
  • Gill Imery QPM, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS)

The first meeting, held via teleconference, considered possible additions to the group’s membership and discussed draft Terms of Reference. Once approved the Terms of Reference will be published on the SPA’s website.

Speaking following the meeting, John Scott QC said: “I am grateful to all those who have already agreed to participate in this group and were able to make the initial meeting at such short notice. Yesterday’s discussions were constructive and provided a clear focus for our next steps. The group will be flexible and will meet as frequently as required during this fast moving situation.”

David Crichton, Vice Chair for the SPA added: “I welcome the speed at which the Independent Advisory Group has begun addressing its remit. The Group comprises an impressive cross-section of individuals and organisations and I am confident that it will provide the independent assessment and advice required to support the Authority’s oversight of Police Scotland’s use of these unprecedented powers.”

The Group will ultimately report directly to the Scottish Police Authority, as the governance and oversight body for Police Scotland, but urgent actions identified as part of the Group’s considerations will be discharged as necessary.


Police Scotland announced on 9 April that John Scott QC had agreed to Chair an Independent Advisory Group. To read the full announcement visit the SPA website at:

Biography of members:

John Scott QC Solicitor Advocate
A court lawyer for over 30 years, John has been a QC since 2011. John chaired the Scottish Human Rights Centre from 1997 to 2005. In 2014, he chaired human rights organisation Justice Scotland for a year.

He was Convenor of the Howard League for Penal Reform in Scotland from 2006 until 2018. From 2015 until 2018, John was the solicitor member of the Scottish Sentencing Council. Since 2016, he has been the President of the Society of Solicitor Advocates.
In 2015, John chaired an Independent Advisory Group on Stop and Search at the request of the Cabinet Secretary for Justice. This Group’s report was implemented in the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2016, introducing a Code of practice and ending the police practice of non-statutory (“consensual”) stop and search.

He also chaired an independent review of Biometrics in Policing in Scotland. This led to the Scottish Biometrics Commissioner Bill 2019. He chaired an independent review into the Impact on Communities of the Policing of the 1984/85 Miners’ Strike, his report being submitted to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice in October 2019.

Finally, he was asked by the Minister for Mental Health in May 2019 to chair a review into mental health legislation.

Susan Kemp
Susan was appointed as a Commissioner with the Scottish Human Rights Commissioner in 2015. She is a lawyer specialising in international criminal and human rights law. She has worked in Latin America, Africa and Europe providing technical assistance to state prosecutors and investigating human rights abuses.

Susan McVie OBE FRSE
Professor McVie is Chair of Quantitative Criminology within the University of Edinburgh’s School of Law. She directs several major research programmes within the University and plays a significant role within the Scottish and UK research community. Susan is a strategic advisor to Police Scotland on many issues, including stop and search, biometric data, children and young people, violence and vulnerability, demand and performance, and police use of data for research.

Alastair Pringle
Alastair is an Executive Director at the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) with responsibility for the Commission’s Legal, Enforcement and Compliance functions across GB and for the operations of the EHRC in Scotland. Alastair currently leads on the Commission’s major investigations into the BBC on Equal Pay and Antisemitism in the Labour Party.

Ephraim Borowski MBE
Ephraim Borowski is the Director of the Scottish Council on Jewish Communities. He also chairs the National Independent Strategic Advisory Group (NISAG) advising Police Scotland on diversity matters including hate crime, and is a member of the Employment Tribunal. He is a former Convener of Bemis, the Scottish ethnic minority umbrella organisation and a member of the Race Equality Advisory Forum set up by the first Scottish Executive. He was formerly Head of the Philosophy Department at Glasgow University.

Naomi McAuliffe
Naomi is Amnesty International UK’s Scotland Programme Director. She has campaigned on an extensive range of human rights issues from a domestic and international perspective with particular expertise in women’s rights, sexual and reproductive rights, business and human rights, and incorporation of human rights in a devolved context. She manages the Human Rights Consortium Scotland, a civil society network promoting a human rights-based society and is a Scotland Committee Member of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Bruce Adamson
Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland
Before becoming the Commissioner in May 2017, Bruce worked as a lawyer. In this role, he built up over 20 years of experience working on children’s rights issues. Bruce has also:
• worked as a human rights expert for the United Nations, Council of Europe, European Union, and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe in countries including Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Moldova, Turkey, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, and Croatia,
• been a Member of the Children’s Panel for 13 years,
• been a United Nations Representative for the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions, and been Chair of the Scottish Child Law Centre.

John T Logue
Deputy Crown Agent, COPFS
John Logue is a solicitor and has been a prosecutor with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service for 26 years.  He is one of three Deputy Crown Agents in the Service, responsible to the Crown Agent and the Law Officers for all prosecution policy and business services in the organisation, including professional standards, finance, HR, security and digital services.

Martyn Evans
Martyn Evans has been a member of the Scottish Police Authority since 2018 and Chair’s the Authority’s Policing Performance Committee. He is also currently Executive Chair of the Alex Ferry Foundation and the former Chief Executive of the Carnegie UK Trust. Martyn was a visiting professor of law at the University of Strathclyde and has previously held positions as Director of the Scottish Consumer Council, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Scotland and Director of Shelter.

DCC Will Kerr OBE
Will Kerr joined Police Scotland in 2018 from the National Crime Agency where he was a Director with responsibility for tackling Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation, Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking and Organised Immigration Crime. Prior to that, DCC Kerr spent 27-years policing in Northern Ireland.

Gill Imery QPM
Gill Imery was appointed Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) in April 2018. This is an independent appointment under Royal Warrant and confers wide ranging powers to look into the “state, effectiveness and efficiency” of both Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority. She is also Scotland’s senior advisor on policing.