Amid security concerns, Welsh police forces have decided to freeze the purchase of surveillance equipment from Chinese state-owned firm, Hikvision. The Welsh government also committed to changing their security systems.
In November 2022, the UK Government stated that it will stop the installation of CCTV equipment made by firms linked to crimes against humanity. Since then, cameras made by Hikvision and Dahua Technology have been deemed a security threat. However, these cameras continue to operate in the public sector.
The Welsh government’s action against this surveillance equipment comes after fears spread over Chinese spy balloons spotted in North America. Commenting on this, Professor Fraser Sampson, the Surveillance Camera Commissioner for the UK said: “We’ve put these cameras on every corner and I’d have thought that’s our principal risk rather than the prospect of some high altitude balloon passing over here.”
Madeleine Stone, legal and policy officer for civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch said that CCTV cameras supplied by Hikvision and another Chinese state-owned surveillance firm Dahua are “beyond George Orwell’s worst nightmare.”
Hikvision told BBC that it is incorrect to label its CCTV equipment as a “threat to national security.”