Police postpone CCTV scheme targeting British Muslims

The introduction of a network of more than 200 CCTV cameras giving blanket coverage of two predominantly Muslim areas of Birmingham is to be postponed after furious protests.

Muslim, civil rights and community groups were enraged after it emerged earlier this month that the cameras were not primarily for crime prevention and detection, but were paid for by the police for anti-terrorism surveillance. It led to accusations that, because of the concentration of Muslim families in the Washwood Heath and Sparkbrook districts of the city, the police had stigmatised the area as a terrorist ghetto.

The Safer Birmingham Partnership, the joint city council/police organisation that installed the cameras, backed down yesterday after mounting protests and a parliamentary motion condemning the move, and announced that the 218 cameras would not be switched on in August as planned.