March 23rd 2022
Following the recent controversy over the participation of Hikvision UK and the Surveillance Camera Commissioner Fraser Sampson in our annual conference, the CCTV User Group has now withdrawn the invitation from Hikvision UK to attend.
Vision 2022 – The National Public Space CCTV Security Conference & Exhibition – will be the first time that we, as an association dedicated to promoting best practice in public space surveillance, have been able to meet face-to-face in more than two years. The event will be held in Northamptonshire on 25-27 April 2022 and will feature a mix of educational presentations, breakout discussions, networking, and an exhibition of some of the best equipment and services available today.
For more details, visit the Vision 2022 conference page: www.cctvusergroup.com/vision2022-conference-details
Hikvision UK is a subsidiary of Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co Ltd, a China-based manufacturer of video surveillance equipment. Fraser Sampson was appointed to the newly-combined role of Biometrics & Surveillance Camera Commissioner in March 2021.
For the past eight months, the Commissioner has been unsuccessful in seeking answers to questions he has put to Hikvision UK about its parent company’s involvement in video surveillance projects in the Chinese province of Xinjiang where the Chinese government has been involved in multiple, documented cases of repression against the Uighur Muslim population.
Recently, the Commissioner stated that he would not attend the CCTV User Group conference, to which he had already accepted an invitation to speak, if Hikvision were exhibiting or sponsoring the event, unless Hikvision UK answered his questions.
Hikvision UK stated it is willing to speak to the Commissioner but only on an ‘off the record’ basis, a stipulation that the Commissioner rejected, saying he must be free to share the results of his enquiries publicly.
We are saddened that the two parties were unable to resolve this matter between them as we had hoped. As the representative body for the UK Public Space CCTV industry, we would have preferred to have both parties attend our annual event, to represent their interests in the market and promote healthy debate.
We are especially disappointed to have been caught up in this dispute. The CCTV User Group is a non-political organisation representing a range of CCTV end-users as well as suppliers of goods and services, and in the absence of government guidance or legislation around the ethical supply and use of video surveillance equipment, we do not feel we are in a position to be an industry regulator.
After the Commissioner withdrew his support for the conference, we carefully considered our position and the ongoing issues and have concluded that it would be best to have both or neither of the parties to this dispute at the conference.
As the Commissioner has already indicated he won’t attend if Hikvision is present, we had no choice but to withdraw the invitation to attend from Hikvision.
The CCTV User Group would like to thank everyone who has sent us messages of support over the past few days, especially those who sympathised with the difficult position we have found ourselves in trying to mediate a dispute between two parties over which we had no power or influence. We will continue to promote an ethical approach to the use of CCTV wherever that may be.
Rest assured, there are still many excellent reasons to attend the conference on 25-27 April, not least the educational programme, networking opportunities and exhibition of equipment and services.
Click here for full conference details including the agenda and list of exhibitors: www.cctvusergroup.com/vision2022-conference-details