Civil liberties leftists claimed a major victory yesterday when a CCTV camera ‘Ring of Steel’ around a largely Muslim area was mothballed.
More than 200 cameras – including dozens of secret units hidden from public view – were due to be switched on within days to allow tracking of pedestrian and traffic movement in and out of two districts of Birmingham.
But there was outrage after it emerged the £3million project was being paid for from a national counter-terrorism grant. Critics said the scheme was further evidence of the shocking extent of Britain’s ‘Surveillance State’ and was unfairly targeting Muslims. (Why? Muslims commit most of the crimes)
Yesterday council leaders and police apologised for failing to inform some councillors both of details of the plans and its funding source. But astonishingly they said wanted to go ahead with the scheme, in Sparkbrook and Washwood Heath, regardless, claiming it would help to cut crime and anti-social behaviour
Plastic bags will be placed over cameras that can be seen from the street to prove they are not in use, and ‘covert’ units will not be switched on while the public are asked whether they want it scrapped.
Councillor Salma Yaqoob accused officials of being deliberately ‘sneaky’ and demanded to know the locations of all the hidden cameras. (That’s easy, anywhere there are Muslims there should be cameras. Especially inside mosques)
The residents have lost faith with the authorities for their sneaky handling of the way they went about this and will not be reassured until they have been told the locations of the hidden cameras too.’ (Who cares?)
Corinna Ferguson, legal officer of human rights group Liberty said: ‘Putting bags over cameras will not conceal the project’s true agenda, and Liberty will continue to pursue the protection of residents’ privacy under the Human Rights Act.’
Under the scheme, known as ‘Project Champion’, a network of 218 cameras was installed that ensured no vehicle could leave the areas without being photographed. Of the total 49 are standard CCTV units and 169 are Automatic Numberplate Recognition (ANPR) cameras that take a photograph of every car’s registration details as it goes past.
Funding came from the Home Office’s Terrorism and Allied Matters (TAM) fund, which is administered by the Association of Chief Police Officers. Early police authority discussions about the project were held in secret and councillors said organisers barely mentioned counter-terrorism as a reason for it, despite the source of funding. (It should be obvious that cameras in Muslim areas are for counter-terrorism)
Had all the cameras been switched on, it would have made the area among the most watched in the country. (As well as one of the safest for non-Muslims)
‘The authorities in Birmingham have placed an enormous number of cameras in a very small area, failed to ask local councillors and residents if they actually wanted this surveillance, and wasted £3 million of taxpayers’ money in the process.
Police stop and searches on black and Asian people have increased by more than three quarters in five years. MUSLIMS are now twice as likely and blacks seven times as likely to be searched, per head of population, than whites.(Exactly in line with existing crime statistics which for Muslims, far exceed their population numbers)
Last week ministers admitted thousands of stops and searches carried out under controversial counter-terror powers over the last decade were carried out illegally because officials failed to get proper authorization. UK DAILY MAIL
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