Consultation over Birmingham 'terror cameras' plans

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A consultation will be held over plans for a network of cameras in parts of Birmingham after concerns were raised.

Hall Green MP Roger Godsiff called for the cameras, which he says are to monitor extremists, not to be used.

Nearly 220 cameras have been planned, predominantly in Sparkbrook and Washwood Heath.

Safer Birmingham Partnership, police and the council said the project would not be switched on until the results of the public consultation are analysed.

They added they should have been more explicit about the Counter Terrorism Unit's role in the initial project management of Project Champion.

The initiative, financed by Association of Chief Police Officers' (ACPO) Terrorism and Allied Matters (TAM), is a network of 218 cameras east of the city centre.

These include 169 Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) and 49 Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras.

'General crime data'

In a joint statement, Safer Birmingham Partnership, police and the council said a consultation would take place after a meeting to discuss concerns raised at recent public meetings, in the media and criticism about levels of consultation.

The statement said: "We completely accept that earlier consultation with councillors from Sparkbrook and Washwood Heath - the main focus of the project - should also have included elected representatives from all other areas affected.

"Although the Counter Terrorism Unit was responsible for identifying and securing central government funds, and have overseen the technical aspects of the installation, the camera sites were chosen on the basis of general crime data - not just counter terrorism intelligence.

"Day to day management of the network was always intended to become the responsibility of local police."

The group apologised for "these mistakes" and said they "are hearing both positive and negative opinions".

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