Birmingham & Black Country

Public 'should decide' on Birmingham 'terror' cameras

Street scene showing the surveillance cameras
Image caption A consultation will be held over the use of the cameras

The public should have the final say as to whether surveillance cameras stay in parts of Birmingham with large Muslim populations, an MP has said.

Some of the 218 cameras - which were linked to counter terrorism - will be covered with bags, the Safer Birmingham Partnership (SBP) said.

Hall Green Labour MP Roger Godsiff said he told the SBP he wanted residents in his constituency consulted by letter.

Some of the cameras in the Sparkbrook and Washwood Heath areas were hidden.

The SBP said it was deciding which "type" of bag should be used to cover the cameras, which had not been turned on.

Although the cameras were financed through a Home Office counter-terrorism fund, the SBP said they would be used to tackle all crime.

Mr Godsiff, whose constituency includes areas where most of the cameras were installed, met the SBP on Friday.

"I have made suggestions to the SBP that residents in my constituency are written to and told exactly what all the cameras are and asked if they want to keep them - the final say has to be with the public," he said.

"That was met very favourably I would say and providing my suggestions are incorporated in the consultation, there would be no need for me to raise the issue in Parliament, as I had said I would."

He added that there was "no reason to rush" the consultation.

"They're (the cameras) not in use, they're going to be covered, it must be thorough so the same mistakes must not be repeated."

Secret locations

The SBP - a partnership of the police, the city council and other agencies - announced on Wednesday that some of the cameras would be covered with bags to reassure the public.

It said 72 of the cameras had been placed covertly and bags would not be placed over these hidden cameras because it did not want to reveal their locations.

It added 106 of the cameras were automatic number plate recognition devices that were only trained on car registration plates at road level.

These would be covered up along with 40 other cameras.

The scheme was financed through the Association of Chief Police Officers' (Acpo) Terrorism and Allied Matters (TAM).

In a statement in April, the SBP said it had received £3m from the Home Office to improve community safety and reduce crime in the Washwood Heath and Sparkbrook wards.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites