Police chief apologises for CCTV 'intrusion'

CCTV stigmatised communities, police chief admits
CCTV stigmatised communities, police chief admits

By politics.co.uk staff

A police chief constable has said sorry after admitting concealed CCTV in mainly Muslim areas undermined community relations.

Chris Sims of West Midland police acknowledged campaigners were right to object to the roll-out of CCTV cameras in Birmingham's large Muslim neighbourhoods of Washwood Heath and Sparksbrook.

He said he believed he had made the right decision when the CCTV cameras were planned three years ago but suggested "somewhere between conception and delivery the critical balance was lost".

Ch Const Sims said: "I am sorry that we got such an important issue so wrong and deeply sorry that it has had such a negative impact on our communities.

"My real regret is that Project Champion has undermined the strong relationships that exist between West Midlands police and our communities that have been built up over many years."

Birmingham's CCTV systems have their defenders within the police force, however.

Police Constable Paul Tyrell claimed to have been responsible for the arrest of over 1,000 criminals through his CCTV monitoring work.

"I can... track a suspect's movements and find out how an offender entered and left an area so this system is a great benefit to everybody," he told the newspaper.

"We can show CCTV footage almost immediately to suspects while they are in custody, reducing the amount of bail applications and paperwork for officers."

The coalition government is reluctant to embrace CCTV, however. Its programme for government includes a commitment to increase the regulation of its use, as part of its efforts to restore British people's civil liberties.


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