Plastic bags placed over some spy cameras in Birmingham

Bags are to be put over scores of surveillance cameras in parts of Birmingham with large Muslim populations, after local objections.

Safer Birmingham Partnerships (SBP) said 216 cameras were put up including covert ones, mainly in the Washwood Heath and Sparkbrook districts. The cameras were financed through a counter-terrorism fund, but the SBP said they would tackle all crime.

Councillor Salma Yaqoob said people had lost faith in the authorities. The Respect Party councillor for Sparkbrook said: “In terms of reassurance it’s going to take a lot more than plastic bags. 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.”

SBP said 72 cameras had been placed covertly and would not be covered by the plastic bags. It said 106 cameras were Automatic Number Plate Recognition devices that were purely trained on car registration plates at road level. SBP said 38 overt CCTV cameras had been installed as well, but none of the cameras would be used until after the consultation had been carried out.

The cameras were financed through the Association of Chief Police Officers’ (Acpo) Terrorism and Allied Matters (TAM).

BBC News, 17 June 2010

See also the Guardian, 17 June 2010

Update:  See Salma Yaqoob, “Police mislead public over spy cameras”, Press release, 18 June 2010