Police CCTV faces legal threat

By politics.co.uk staff

West Midlands police are facing demands from the campaigning group Liberty to remove CCTV cameras from two areas of Birmingham or face legal action.

The cameras were placed in Sparkbrook and Washwood Heath – two areas of the city with high proportions of Muslim residents.

Liberty has argued that the decision to concentrate CCTV there in the first place represented a contravention of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Corinna Ferguson, legal officer at Liberty said: “It is baffling that West Midlands Police are still trying to salvage this unlawful and discriminatory scheme.

“These cameras are useless for everyday policing and must be removed immediately if badly damaged community relations are to be repaired.”

The force has already issued an apology for the decision, but has yet to remove all the cameras. Liberty’s threat of legal proceedings is designed to force them to do so.

The scheme began as a counter-terror initiative, but has been accused of deliberately targeting the Muslim community, particularly after it emerged that some of the cameras were hidden.

The coalition has committed itself to reducing the prevalence of CCTV as part of its package to restore civil liberties after their mauling under both the Blair and Brown premierships.