Police surveillance of Muslims set up with “no regard for law”

30 September 2010

A secret police operation to place thousands of Muslims living in Birmingham under permanent surveillance was implemented with virtually no consultation, oversight or regard for the law, a report found today.

Project Champion was abandoned in June after an investigation by the Guardian revealed police had misled residents into believing that hundreds of counter-terrorism cameras installed in streets around Sparkbrook and Washwood Heath were to be used to combat vehicle crime and antisocial behaviour.

In fact, the £3m project was being run from the West Midlands police counter-terrorism unit with the consent of security officials at the Home Office and MI5.

The network of CCTV and automatic number plate reading (ANPR) cameras, which were weeks away from being switched on, were intended to monitor people entering and leaving the predominantly Muslim suburbs.

The Guardian
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/sep/30/police-surveillance-muslims-no-regard-law

Report: “Review of Project Champion”
http://www.west-midlands-pa.gov.uk/documents/committees/public/2010/09a_PolAuth_30Sept2010_Review_of_Project_Champion.pdf

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.