French Police Criticize Hikvision Body Cameras

By Charles Rollet, Published Dec 29, 2020, 07:19am EST (Info+)

French police are criticizing their Hikvision body cameras, with one police union official even calling them "junk" after the government purchased over 10,000 in 2018. In response, the government has issued an open tender for 30,000 new body cameras which ends next week.

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The Hikvision partner who sold the original cameras, Allwan Security, told IPVM he was participating in this new tender with an improved model, dismissing the complaints, which both he and Hikvision said were due to the cameras not being meant for extended usage during protests which hit France after the deal.

But French media are now raising scrutiny against Hikvision over its US human rights sanctions and NDAA ban, adding another obstacle for Hikvision. In this post, IPVM examines this issue in depth.

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Comments (13)

Should we really blame the manufacturer of these cameras, in this case Hikvision? In my humble opinion it would be more necessary to ask why the police obtained material which was not adapted to their needs? A well-constructed & technically complete tender, based on precise technical and functional needs would certainly have prevented these cameras from ending up in a closet.

Notes : I don't work for Hikvision or a camera manufacturer.

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#1, thanks for your first comment!

A well-constructed & technically complete tender, based on precise technical and functional needs

I agree with this general principle. When you don't do that, you risk getting 'junk' because sellers will say "hey all they want is a generic X" and sell them that accordingly.

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Agreed. They should have been able to determine these issues with a one or two-day field trial. Even if the tender was garbage they should have at least tried various models before spending 2.8 million.

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Ross, good point, I wonder how much they actually tried these systems before buying.

This underscores the challenges government buyers face - on the one hand, it's good to have open bids to encourage more responses but the risk is selecting something that is not vetted and subsequently is 'junk'.

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John, that's where it's important that the end user work with the purchasing unit to ensure they actually get what they want. One of the few times I was on the issuing side of an RFP, we used a dual stage selection. The first part was an objective evaluation/scoring of how the product met our criteria. The highest scoring 3 then brought demo systems in and we did a scored evaluation of the products in a real world environment with the winner chosen from that final eval.

I has always surprised me how some end users give vague criteria to the purchasing group and are then surprised how they ended up with cheap systems that don't meet their needs.

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Should we really blame the manufacturer of these cameras, in this case Hikvision? In my humble opinion it would be more necessary to ask why the police obtained material which was not adapted to their needs? A well-constructed & technically complete tender, based on precise technical and functional needs would certainly have prevented these cameras from ending up in a closet.

"A well-constructed & technically complete tender, based on precise technical and functional needs would certainly have prevented these cameras from ending up in a closet."

perfectly agree

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Merci Vincent ;)

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I was selling body cameras almost a decade ago for law enforcement and even then the units (Vievu) had better performance and longer battery life than this is reporting. Plus their software was simple and reliable! Just more wasted tax payer money spent by a government on another bad tender.

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Great report, Charles! It will be interesting to see if Antoine Griezmann and recent reporting have any impact on the Interior Ministry and if Allwan is able to win the bid again.

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UPDATE: according to French trade publication La Lettre A, the French government has "set aside" Axis from the tender for the 30,000 body cameras, meaning now there are only two major contestants left: Axon and Allwan/Hikvision. The French report - based on anonymous sources, to be sure - claimed Axis lost out because French police were dissatisfied with their body cameras' GPS response time following testing. IPVM has reached out to Axis to see if they have a response to this report.

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UPDATE: Axis confirms it lost the deal, but did not give further official comments on why the deal was last.

Axis added that "Axis launched Assisted GPS in mid-February. Assistant GPS will reduce the response time to get the first GPS fix".

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meaning now there are only two major contestants left: Axon and Allwan/Hikvision.

and then boom!, Moto muscled in?

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Motorola has announced that they won the deal to replace Hikvision.

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