Cameras track movement of Birmingham Muslims

Last Updated: Saturday, June 5, 2010 - 13:30

London: Two areas of Birmingham predominantly
inhabited by the Muslim community have been the target of
hundreds of surveillance cameras as part of counter-terrorism
measures, tracking movements of people in the neighbourhood.

The surveillance has reportedly been put in place on the
pretext of combating anti-social behaviour, vehicle crime and
drug dealing in the area, The Guardian reported Saturday.

However, the cameras had been paid for by a 3-million-
pounds grant from a government fund, the Terrorism and Allied
Matters Fund.

The report said that about 150 automatic numberplate
recognition (ANPR) cameras had been installed in Washwood
Heath and Sparkbrook in recent months.

Birmingham`s two predominantly Muslim suburbs will be
covered by three times more ANPR cameras than are used to
monitor the entire city centre.

They include about 40 cameras classed as "covert",
meaning they have been concealed from public view, the report
said.

Salma Yaqoob, councillor for Sparbrook, told the daily
that source of funding was not made clear when details of the
plan were disclosed to some councillors.

She said: "I raised my concern then: is this really about
spying? The terrorism aspect was certainly not emphasised in
that meeting.

"In fact it was me having to be portrayed as the awkward
squad, or even paranoid, for even raising the issue of whether
this was really about counter-terrorism. They were very much
saying, `No, this is about burglary and crime.`"

PTI



First Published: Saturday, June 5, 2010 - 13:30

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