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View Full Version : Police condemned for secret CCTV operation set up to spy on Muslim communities By Dai



Odysseus
10-01-2010, 11:11 AM
October 2010

A police force secretly put large Muslim communities under surveillance using cameras they pretended were for crime prevention, a report has ruled.

West Midlands police told residents the mix of CCTV and number plate recognition devices were to help cut anti-social behaviour and vehicle crime.

But the network in Birmingham was actually being run by its counter-terrorism unit with the consent of the Home Office and MI5.

The 3m scheme, called Project Champion, was intended to monitor Muslims entering and leaving mainly Muslim areas of Sparkbrook and Washwood Heath.

It was halted in June after an outcry from residents and civil rights campaigners and Thames Valley Police was asked to conduct an independent review.

Watched: CCTV and number-plate recognition cameras were set up in Sparkbrook (above) and Washwood Heath in Birmingham

Sara Thornton, Chief Constable of Thames Valley police, yesterday published her damning report.
It concluded police had come up with a 'storyline' to hide the real reason for the cameras and tried to sell it as a local policing strategy.

Officers had promised the cameras would be used for local policing but they were actually controlled by the counter-terror unit, with no facility for local supervision.

Ms Thornton ruled the covert scheme had caused 'significant damage to community relations' with one claim that it had 'set relations back a decade'.

West Midlands Police had no statutory clearance for the use of the cameras and there was 'very little evidence' they had even considered their legal obligations, she said.

'The consultation phase was too little too late, and the lack of transparency about the purpose of the project has resulted in significant community anger and loss of trust,' the report concluded.

The scheme was organised by the Safer Birmingham Partnership, an initiative including West Midlands Police, Birmingham City Council and other agencies.

The partnership has acknowledged it should have been more explicit about the role of the city's Counter Terrorism Unit in setting up the network.

And yesterday, the force apologised and admitted it had got the balance between counter-terrorism and excessive intrusion 'so wrong'.

West Midland Police Chief Constable Chris Sims admitted there had been 'serious shortcomings' in the scheme's management and said he was 'deeply sorry'.

'My real regret is that Project Champion has undermined the strong relationships that exist between West Midlands Police and our communities that have been built up over many years,' he said.

He added: 'At the heart of the controversy surrounding Project Champion sits a dilemma faced by police on behalf of wider society, how to find a balance between on the one hand the duty to offer protection from serious harm and on the other the risk of excessive intrusion and the danger of stigmatising a whole community.

'I am convinced that when Project Champion was conceived in 2007, this dilemma was clearly understood. However, somewhere between conception and delivery the critical balance was lost.'

Speaking at West Midlands Police headquarters, he said: 'There were serious shortcomings shown by the West Midlands Police management of this project.

'This allowed the specification to move beyond the point where it was proportionate to the community safety risks and counter terrorism threats that it aimed to address.

'At the same time, the vital consultation that should have accompanied the scheme proved wholly inadequate.'

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1316775/Police-condemned-secret-CCTV-operation-set-spy-Muslim-communities.html#ixzz117UP1ndN

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Call me old-fashioned, but I think that terrorism certainly falls under "anti-social behaviour" and if the plan involves a Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device, as the airport bombers in Scotland planned, then it's also "vehicle crime."

Also, am I the only one who read that MI5 was involved and pictured James Bond being told that he has a license to kill, but that he cannot keep an eye on Muslims?

Wei Wu Wei
10-01-2010, 11:21 AM
Let's just put cameras everywhere if you aint doin nothing wrong you aint got tnohing to hide am i rite?

Bailey
10-01-2010, 11:47 AM
Let's just put cameras everywhere if you aint doin nothing wrong you aint got tnohing to hide am i rite?

No just in the brown people area's.

Wei Wu Wei
10-01-2010, 11:57 AM
No just in the brown people area's.

well of course

i mean i'm not racist but, statistics you know....

statistics...

Odysseus
10-01-2010, 01:14 PM
Let's just put cameras everywhere if you aint doin nothing wrong you aint got tnohing to hide am i rite?

That didn't take long, did it? And, of course, you're outraged. But then, you would be, wouldn't you? But, as the article noted, the cameras were focused soley on public places that were well-trafficked, so the expectation of privacy is not an issue.

Also, don't you find it odd that the locals had no problem with the cameras when they thought that they were there for enforcement of antisocial behavior and traffic violations, but only had a problem when they realized that the goal was to track terrorists and prevent terrorist acts? I guess that hassling someone for getting drunk on the street, or running a traffic light is more acceptable to the British Muslim community than planning suicide bombings or pulling off another Mumbai-style attack.

Let's you know what their (and your) priorities are, doesn't it?

Zafod
10-01-2010, 03:20 PM
Let's just put cameras everywhere if you aint doin nothing wrong you aint got tnohing to hide am i rite?

good grief you really suck at this.

Articulate_Ape
10-01-2010, 03:27 PM
What a waste of time and money! Why the hell would they keep an eye on Muslim communities when everyone knows that 99% of the threat of terrorism comes from Buddhist retreats and Anglican friaries? Unbelievable!

SaintLouieWoman
10-01-2010, 03:50 PM
What a waste of time and money! Why the hell would they keep an eye on Muslim communities when everyone knows that 99% of the threat of terrorism comes from Buddhist retreats and Anglican friaries? Unbelievable!

You can't forget those awesome Amish! You've got to check out all those little black buggies. :rolleyes:

Articulate_Ape
10-01-2010, 03:59 PM
You can't forget those awesome Amish! You've got to check out all those little black buggies. :rolleyes:

Oh yeah, how could I forget the buggy bombs that are detonated on almost a daily basis?

Odysseus
10-01-2010, 04:19 PM
What a waste of time and money! Why the hell would they keep an eye on Muslim communities when everyone knows that 99% of the threat of terrorism comes from Buddhist retreats and Anglican friaries? Unbelievable!
It's the Rosicrurians, I tell you! And they're in league with the Rastafarians and the Mithraeists!

You can't forget those awesome Amish! You've got to check out all those little black buggies. :rolleyes:
Why does that sound vaguely pornographic?

noonwitch
10-04-2010, 12:53 PM
Oakland County, MI has cameras at every intersection that has a traffic signal. They claim that the cameras are there to monitor traffic patterns, not to spy or gather evidence for citations. So far, I haven't seen anyone claim that they are there for any other reason-there are no citations that I know of that have been issued because of images gathered by the cameras.


Downtown Detroit has video survellience cameras in high pedestrian traffic areas, like near the ball parks, JLA and the business are. The 3 casinos all have their own security systems, that cover the areas around their buildings, too. The only places that have no security in Detroit are the area outside of the Juvenile Court and DHS offices.