Body Worn Video – The Industry Pioneers Opinion

Monday, 09 November, 2020

Adam Liardet Managing Director & Founder of Audax.

Adam Liardet is Managing Director & Founder of Audax. He lives in Brussels and is a former Royal Green Jacket having served in NI and Bosnia in the nineties.

Audax® are the worldwide Pioneers in Body Worn Video (BWV) technology. They led the World in 2006 with the UK Home Office in a joint project producing the first ever BWV standards. They are Members of Made in Britain, the register of British Manufacturers, accredited to the Good Business Charter, BAPCO the Association for all professionals using or developing Public Safety technology and The Guild of Security Industry Professionals.

Audax® support the Ambulance Union in Belgium (Ambulanciersunie) and are a key sponsor of the country’s ‘Aggression and violence against aid workers and the Police is NEVER OK' campaign. Adam has worked with many organisations and blue light services across the world. These include ambulance services, security and law enforcement organisations etc. He has over the last year managed an International Police rollout of 6,500 cameras and, alongside running the company, is principally involved in the design and innovation of BWV devices.

Adam writes… 

Belgium has a serious problem, verbal or even physical aggression against security and rescue personnel has, unfortunately, become common place and is now ‘normal’ behaviour in Belgium. More and more paramedics, fire fighters, security staff and police officers have to deal with this behaviour on a daily and even hourly basis by members of the public that they are trying to assist.

The police in the zone Brussels-Capital-Ixelles has been increasingly confronted with violence against police officers over the last four years. Figures show an increase of some 400%. Officers are then on paid sick leave while they recover and thus aren’t capable of being on the streets providing the security the area desperately needs. The aggression has got so bad that often drink or drug intoxication is not the ‘catalyst’ as many people expect it to be. For example, on 6th September 2020 Firefighters were ambushed & attacked with Molotov Cocktails having been, on the 27th August pelted with bottles.

I have used Brussels as an example for two reasons, firstly because it is a place that is rarely out of the Newspapers due to Brexit and it is where I have been based for the last 4 years, and secondly because it is also an example to show that other countries have the same problems and issues as the UK. Disrespect and aggression towards security and emergency staff is still ongoing and, in some areas and countries, it is getting worse. One solution (amongst others) has been talk of the introduction of Body cameras, everyone knows what these are to some extent but there is a great deal of conflicting advice and a large range of products to choose from; so, in this short article my aim is to try an provide readers with hopefully something new.

“Audax® first started with BWV product demonstrations in July 2005 at a G8 Summit and led the World in 2006 with our joint project with Devon & Cornwall Police / UK Home Office which led to the first ever standards and guidance document for BWV being produced. This mass trial of 200 x Audax cameras produced some enlightening results, with a massive drop in complaints against the police and a reduction in violent Crime.

Several studies have been conducted on the impact of body-worn video equipment, and they found considerable potential benefits to their use. The studies showed that evidence capture is just one output of body-worn video equipment, and the technology is effective at preventing escalation during police-public interactions — both abusive behaviour towards police and unnecessary use of force by police. The researchers said that the knowledge that events are being recorded creates self-awareness in all participants during police interactions. This is the critical component that turns body-worn video into a “preventative treatment.”

BWV Cameras –are they all the same?

BWV Cameras are a specialised tool to ‘capture’ evidence in a secure manner. Adventure & Leisure Cameras are not fit for purpose and do not have the security software and memory security to ensure that video and images haven’t been altered and manipulated (Your mobile phone I would also put into this category). They do not offer automated docking stations and secure back office software to ensure and prove that evidence hasn’t been manipulated and is acceptable in Court. What is the point of having something that only has a 2-hour battery and you can’t turn on when you are wearing gloves? Because of GDPR and Privacy it is against the law to be recording all the time and recording private conversations. So, again, what is the point, after potentially being abused, then turning on your camera – to have missed all the evidence? More importantly what is going thorough any employers mind to be providing a product under the guise of “duty of care” that they have purchased from the internet (or a distributor that is just rebadging Chinese Grey imports) that is often illegally imported as it has no real safety certifications. I would suggest that you check out the pedigree of the company you are buying from – ‘time in industry is not the same as time in BWV’. Experience & proven capability matters!

Thus, provided that the ‘output’ is ‘captured’ on systems that are ‘fit for purpose’, What differentiates between the manufacturers as after all the specific aspects of the camera itself (resolution, field of view, on-board storage) vary very little from manufacturer to manufacturer. Even when looking at the different physical attributes of the cameras, they all have a similar look and feel. For example, some ‘manufacturers’ suggest that a front facing screen is a deterrent, where as some customers have evidence that offenders ‘act up’ to the screen and it actually escalates conflict. As such, the main areas UK/ USA manufacturers are competing on are pricing strategies and data management strategies.

Security and GDPR

Numerous BWV cameras are manufactured in the Far East and imported into the EU. These are then rebadged as ‘Western’ and sold by so called ‘experts’ in their field. Firstly, the import is often illegal and the software having been written in the Far East is often insecure. It arrives with numerous drivers to install and you having to log into servers located in the Far East for product authorisation and registration. Back doors in the software and ‘hacking’ vulnerabilities are huge. I am aware of a number of Live streaming products that while the evidence on the camera may be secure, the “live stream” certainly isn’t and can be viewed simply with software freely and legally obtained on Google. So, security is a major issue and I would question GDPR compliance here too?

Live Streaming Video

A number of ‘new’ cameras offer Live streaming – this allows the ability to live stream video and will provide managers and control room commanders with live views during incidents. The majority of other BWV suppliers say they offer live streaming when actually they are using an insecure ‘Tethered connection’ to a mobile phone which quickly drains the phone battery and often “locks up” the phone not allowing calls and other functions. The Apps Provided are often badly adapted from Car Crash Cameras and not fit for purpose. Audax also offer live streaming, but we don’t use Mobile phones and everything from storage of the video to the actual live video stream is AES 256 Encrypted for security.

Audax® cameras are the ‘Benchmark’ of the Body Worn Video (BWV) Camera market. Ours are feature rich, highly competitive and designed to be in full compliance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). They pack high security, AES 256 encryption, GPS mapping and lone worker safety features into rugged and lightweight products. Our Flagship camera allows remote memory wipe, if the camera is lost and has the capability of allowing the control room to remotely command the camera to start recording which is a unique innovation.

Industry Pedigree and DEMS

Finally, and what is always forgotten, in the rush to equip users with cameras, is the need for simplicity and usability for the officers themselves. What sets us apart is the fact that The Audax® team is predominantly composed of service veterans means we would never manufacture or supply a system that we wouldn’t have been happy with if we were still serving. Everything we do is User Centric. Often requirements are for secure, robust and simple Back Office Procedures and software to manage the evidence. This is Back Office DEMS (Digital Evidence Management) software. This is often the most expensive element of a BWV system, and where most companies make their ‘real’ income with expensive annual licence fees and other associated expenses. Some companies might even provide 500 x cameras for £1 as an incentive, however over the annual licence fee contract of 3 years you will pay “eye watering” figures for DEMS and Video Storage. This is not the Audax® way! We Provide a secure feature rich back office software with no Audax® annual licence fee and no contract.

In Summary provided that the ‘output’ is ‘captured’ on systems that are ‘fit for purpose’, Body Worn Video (BWV) systems provide compelling Video and audio that is fully admissible and increasingly used as vital evidence in court. Body worn video systems are now critical technology for reducing threats, violence and complaints against security, police officers and other BWV users, improving policy and transparency in public relations, reducing offender complaints and speeding up the administration of justice. These results have also been confirmed by further studies by Police Forces and Dr Barak Ariel, who is based at the Cambridge Institute of Criminology, who said: "I cannot think of any [other] single intervention in the history of policing that dramatically changed the way that officers behave, the way that suspects behave, and the way they interact with each other."

• Audax are always available to discuss your needs and further information can be found at –
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