back to article Birmingham jihad-cam network suspended

A crime prevention quango has postponed activation of a new CCTV network trained on Muslim areas of Birmingham, and funded from the central police counter-terrorism budget, after a local outcry. The 218 cameras are concentrated on the Washwood Heath and Sparkbrook districts. They will now be covered by plastic sacks until a …


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  1. Piggy and Tazzy


    How exactly is a couple of hundred camera's mounted on big poles and on the side of buildings in plain view of all that want to look at (and be watched by them) 'covert'?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Try investingating, before commenting.

      key words SOME / MANY (depends on press source) are covert. NOT ALL.

      I think ALL spy cams (sorry saftey) Cameras should require planning permission from local communities.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: Covert?

      Errr, yeah, those are the non-covert ones.

      oooooh kay then.

    3. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      That's what the plastic sacs were for..

      That wasn't disabling them, just camouflage.

      Do we actually PAY these people do be this stupid?

  2. dogged

    Watch this space

    It'll be interesting to see how/if the the racist press reports this.

    One the one hand, they hate CCTV - quite rightly. On the other, they hate immigrants and muslims, too. Editorial meeting time for the Express, Mail and Telegraph, then.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How they will report it

      The government wants to watch all of us 24 hours a day and know who we are and what we get up to and if you complain they will just tell you it's for your own good, unless you're a muslim.

      Something like that on the front pages of the Fail tomorrow?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        You are aware the government changed recently, aren't you?

        1. The First Dave


          A handful of politicians may have lost their jobs, but there has been no change at all within the Civil Service, the Police, or any of the related Quango's.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @The first dave...

            That would be the largest amount of MPs changed after an election, ever. The new government have set about undoing much of the doings of the old. Yes the Police, civil service and Quangos haven't changed - They're not the government. The rules they work by are changing and already have changed in some cases.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Of course they did but the Daily Mail didn't.

  3. Elmer Phud


    A few years ago it would have been in Brixton or Toxteth or anywhere else you got 'Yardies'.

    We await the next attempt in isolating a section of society that just happens to be a different colour while plagued with Fundamental Christians in the high streets with thier homophobic, mysogynistic and blatantly racist leaflets and chants. These are the dangerous ones who actually threaten local communities, the fundamentalsts who get way with far, far too much.

    If we are to target religious communities why not have blanket CCTV in Stoke Newington and other parts of North London? There are religious fanatics there who wear odd clothes and have some outrageous isolationist views.

    1. dave 54

      Oh, grow up

      The society you describe - that of oppressed minorities suffering nobly under the boot of callous, uncaring Fundamental Christians (and other boogeymen) simply does not exist.

      Fact is, if you're a part of a group whose fringe members have repeatedly and unequivocally expressed an interest in causeing real, violent harm to the country, that country's security services are going to take more of an interest in that group - and unfortunately, some perfectly sane, reasonably and innocent people might be inconvenienced. I'm well aware that a great many attrocities have been prevented through infomartion sourced within the Muslim community - it seems that Joe Muslim is no happier with the lunatic fringe than anyone else. Hopefully, they can appreciate tht they are not being targetted by this.

      It's a few cameras, which can (presumably) be removed if they don't assist in their stated purpose. If they do assist in their stated purpose - detecting and preventing acts of violence - excellent. Let's have more.

      Oh - the irony (and hypocrisy) of people whinging about photographers not being allowed to photograph anything and everything they please, whilst simultaenously claiming that the state itself has no right to caputre images, is not lost on me.

      1. Graham Marsden

        You need to grow up...

        ... that way the point won't be quite so far over your head.

        "it seems that Joe Muslim is no happier with the lunatic fringe than anyone else. Hopefully, they can appreciate tht they are not being targetted by this."

        It doesn't matter whether they are "being targetted" the fact is that they *ARE* being watched and monitored *just in case* they may be terrorists, but I'm sure your argument is "well, if they have nothing to hide..."

        As for "irony and hypocrisy", again you miss the point that all those individuals who are taking photographs are not clubbing together, putting all their images on a central database and then examining them for "suspicious" or "extremist" behaviour with the intent of trying to spot anyone who might be up to no good.

        Of course the fact that *nobody* might be up to no good seems to have escaped you too.

        Perhaps we should all follow you with cameras and monitor your every move just to be certain that you're not breaking any laws. Still, you've got nothing to hide, have you?

        1. dave 54

          Nobody might be up to no good?

          Keep an aye on the newspapers, you obtuse little troll. You will be proved wrong.

          You seem to think I'd personally be nervous about being seen on cameras. As it happens, so long as I'm in a public place where I can be freely seen anyhow, I couldn't care less.

          If you honestly believe, as you seem to, that the country is populated with wholly nice and peaceful people, and that the only fundamentalists worth any concern are of teh Christian variety, then your opinion is utterly without merit. History proves you wrong. The future will prove you wrong. There are a great deal of naughty people, and I've no problem with The Man doing his best to weed them out.

          1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge


            You are wrong.

            What history has shown unequivocally is that those who are the greediest are the greatest threat to the common good. The problem with placing your faith in the state is that those who rose to power in the state are those who craved this power. They are, to an individual, greedy. They will do anything they can not only to retain the power they have, but to perpetually increase it.

            You argue that human nature means that “bad people walk among us.” I can’t and won’t argue that is wrong; but I will state that the worst offenders are most often those in power over the rest of us.

            Everything in life is a risk; and we all of us have to accept that living in a “free” society bears with it the risk that we may be in the wrong place at the wrong time. We hedge this by employing police forces, intelligence services and military personnel to protect us against the worst threats. Still, there is a balance to be had between the liberties of individuals and the common good. No one side of that equation can ever be allowed to hold too much sway.

            The only way to perfectly secure a computer is to disconnect any network cables from it, remove all possibility of physical access, and bury the thing in some magical hole where neither war nor natural disaster can harm it. (Which is impossible since eventually the sun will expand and destroy the Earth anyways.)

            Similarly the only way to perfectly secure a society is to completely isolate every member of society one from the other, pad them in bubblewrap and prevent them from being exposed to germs, ideas, improper foods and every anything else. Unfortunately humans are an imperfect species and we will eventually succumb to various genetic defects or simply “old age.”

            Just as a computer buried under 80,000 tonnes of cement in the worlds darkest bunker sealed from any human ever accessing it is completely and utterly pointless; so is a society in which there is no freedom, but perfect security.

            I fear that you will not be able to convince the commenters of this forum that the society you seek is just, and they (and I) tend to believe the balance between liberty and security lies much further towards liberty than the world you describe.

            I am find with having my family and my person left “at risk” to nebulous domestic terrorism. There are bigger fish to fry; more important places to spend the time and manpower that would have a more immediate effect on reducing the chances of my dying suddenly.

            If every dollar put into domestic terrorism prevention, (and indeed invading the countries of brown people to steal their oil,) were put into helping the homeless of my city with their various substance abuse problems, My chances for survival would go up dramatically. You could build interchanges at some of the busy and fatality-accident-prone intersections in my province, saving dozens, maybe hundreds of lives a year. (“Terrorism prevention” has saved how many lives? Even one?)

            Diverting funding from invading other countries to actually paying our military personnel properly would provide us with a standing army of competent, well trained, happy individuals whose services we can retain for over a decade each. These individuals can be deployed to help with disaster relief efforts both domestically and in other jurisdictions. When necessary, they could don a blue beret and make us proud by keeping the peace in the areas of the world that need it most. (Very different task from invasion.)

            If the monies that were wasted on telephone interception of ordinary citizens, spy cameras, speed cameras, red light cameras, camera here, camera there, ID card this, database that, track, track , track were actually spent on hiring, training and retaining competent wetware, then we’d be far ahead of the game. Good polices and intelligence services, paid well, with proper oversight and no monetary reasons to turn corrupt can do wonders for a community.

            Not only enforcement, but helping citizens in need out, doing active crime prevention via education, training and awareness efforts as well . We don’t need to know what Joe and Jane normal are doing all the damned time in order to “prevent the crimeses!!!!”

            We need to work every day with regular people to make them more alert of their environment, the people around them, responsible for their own actions, and most importantly putting caring, responsive figures of authority in easily (and rapidly) acceptable places for when something goes wrong.

            You can’t predict Bad Things, and you can’t fully prevent them However, a society that cares about it’s individual members, as well as the good of the whole can work together to raise the alarm when Bad Things do happen. If you haven’t wasted your budget on stupid pointless cameras, you can get some boots on the ground and on scene quickly.

            When people realise that they *will* eventually be caught, because there is enough manpower to never give up, then the only crimes left are crimes of passion, or extremist (usually suicidal) belief. Neither of which anyone will /ever/ be able to prevent.

            Precrime is impossible; so do your bit to make the world a better place instead. Help an old lady across the street. Don’t speed through construction zones or anywhere else you are likely to kill someone. Report crimes when you see them; even if it’s “just” an impaired driver. Don’t let your buddies drive drunk, and sure as hell don’t be that dumb yourself. Wear your hard hat in a construction zone, call before you dig, and don’t get between a sysadmin and his coffee.

            If even “most” of our society paid attention to the suggestions in the previous paragraph, it would save more lives in a year than “anti-terrorism” spending has saved, well…


            1. dogged
              Thumb Up

              Best. Comment. Ever.

              That is all.

            2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

              @ Trevor Pott

              I generally agree with your sentiments: life is risk, and freedom possibly contributes to that risk a little. However, IMO, your penultimate paragraph tends to undermine the whole tenor of the rest of your argument.

              You say "do your bit to make the world a better place instead". Absolutely correct. However, you then go on to say:

              a) "Help an old lady across the street". To me that should be "If you see someone that looks as if they may need help crossing a road, ask them if you can help". (I once saw a sketch about someone helping an old lady to cross the road when she didn't want to go, and it has stuck with me!)

              b) "Don’t speed through construction zones or anywhere else you are likely to kill someone...Don’t let your buddies drive drunk, and sure as hell don’t be that dumb yourself". Forget speed and drink - it comes down to drive responsibly taking into account all relevant conditions, and othewr road users. Focusing on specifics leads to other bad behaviour going uncriticised (there is such a thing as driving too slowly for the conditions, not to mention driving too close to the car in front, not indicating properly, and generally driving without due care and attention).

              c) "Report crimes when you see them." I do not see how being a nosey bastard with the phone number of the police on speed-dial helps to make the world a better place, necessarily. It depends on the law - for example, there is a special place in Hell reserved for those who call the police to photographers in public places.

              d) "Wear your hard hat in a construction zone ... and don’t get between a sysadmin and his coffee.". I don't see how that makes the world a better place at all - it is about managing personal risk, and should be a matter of personal choice in the light of all relevant information being given (like seatbelts, in my opinion). A person should be able to take any risk they like with their own safety, as long as it does not lead to an increased risk to the safety of others who have not consented to it. Helmets and seatbelts cross the line into personal micro-management. Getting between a sysadmin and the coffee is just stupid!

              e) "call before you dig". This makes the world more efficient, but better in the sense I thought you meant - I'm not so sure. Methinks you have had a particular incident this week that you needed to vent a little!!

              1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                @intractible postherd

                Litteral minded much?

                a) Help an old lady across the street: of course you ask first. She might be offended if you just help her across, being an individual who has a psychological need to do things herself. It's still called "not being a douche" if you help someone you see trying to cross the street who is having problems.

                b) Driving with due care. If there is an open stretch of hiway with no turnoffs for kilometres down the way, it’s perfectly flat prairie with nothing in your way, then I personally don’t see a single thing wrong with taking a few kilometres to enjoy yourself. IN our province however, speed fines double when passing emergency workers or through construction zones for a reason. What might be morally okay to get away with on highway number backwoods when you can see forever down the road (say speeding or stunting,) is emphatically /not/ okay when you are in a position to hurt others.

                c) Report crimes when you see them. An example would be “phoning in an impaired driver.” A major campaign in our province right now, and quite a successful one. If you see eomeone nick jewels from a store, CALL IT IN. If you see a couple of lowlifes beat a dude up then leave, CALL IT IN. (See if the dude is okay as well, and maybe get an ambulance.) As with anything else there’s BALANCE to think about here; don’t call in your neighbour because he has some donkey porn. That’s his bloody business, and noone else’s. Don’t call the cops because you don’t like the look of some chavs. DO call the cops if those chavs are sitting around comparing weapons in public. Critical thinking! It should be a required skill to be allowed to pass grade school.

                d) Wear your hard hat in a construction zone ALONE would save more lives than anti-terrorism legislation. The number of people killed each year because they didn’t bother to wear a hardhat in a constriction zone. And yes, it’s a danger to others. I didn’t mention seat belts, but I WILL mention hard heats. You are NOT taking a risk with your own life. You are taking a risk with the lives of EVERYONE ON THAT PROJECT. Any construction worker will tell you that when on a job, you all are relying on eachother to keep an eye out for one another. If you get killed because you were a dumbass, then there the folks you were supposed to be keeping an eye on are now left without your services. If they don’t know you died due to excessive stupidity, and they are counting on you to see if “that giant wire is getting lose, and will snap out and bisect me,” then it might end very badly for them.

                e) Call before you dig. I don’t know how it works where you live, but here in Alberta out power lines are largely underground. We actually have a reasonable number of deaths each year in this province from some idiot going through the mains with a backhoe. (Or even a shovel!) Simple things, you know. They save lives.

                Anti-terrorism spending doesn’t.

                1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

                  @ Trevor Pott to me

                  a) Re road crossing scenario: It was a bit if a joke initially, and linked to what you wrote. Of course the country would be better if everyone offered help to anyone - the stories I have heard about some cities where a person lying on the street has been ignored by hundreds/thousands of people appalls me. I have turned stopped the car to offer help to a complete stranger in the past, so we are on the same sheet, here. Please, take no offence.

                  b) Road use: Isn't that what I said? Context is all.

                  c) Report crimes: You did not state anything about balance in your original post, so I did not know that you had some sort of continuum in mind - you could have been a black-letter law man for all I know. The thing is, the campaign in your province could cover the donkey porn situation (someone takes in a computer for repair, the techie "finds" the offending material, and calls it in). What is trivial to you may not be trivial to someone else - what if someone spots that you have illegally low tread on your tyre - for their own reasons, they may think that is worth calling in. I find it difficult, though, to understand why anywhere would need a campaign to persuade people to call in jewel thieves and assaults - doesn't everyone do that anyway? If they don't, you live in area with more serious problems than I can conceive of!! Regarding calling in an impaired (I guess you mean drunk/drugged, and not someone with flu), whilst I hate the bastards that drive under the influence, I find myself torn as to whether I would do it - which is perhaps one of the points of the campaign, i.e. to make people think about these things.

                  d) Hard hats: If you were simply making the point that the wearing of hard hats would save more lives that all the anti-terrorism activity, I would agree without reservation. I will not agree that mandating personal safety equipment is legitimate, though, even in light of your persuasive argument that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. I regard the chances of the death or injury of others as the result of one person not wearing a hard hat a stretch of anti-terrorism proportions (i.e. possible in a movie, but highly unlikely). Personal safety is, by definition, a matter of personal responsibility.

                  e) Call before you dig: Sure, it is a pain in the bum when some numpty digs through the phone line or the broadband, but here it is usually the scum nicking the copper from electric lines and transformers that is the problem. Best practice always says "Find out what is likely to be between you and the depth you want to achieve", because of the inconvenience it will cause to many if you go through the feed to the local exchange, but you seem to be globalising a local problem of people dying because of it.

            3. dave 54


              A well framed reply, and somewhat more considered than the 'OMG CAMERAZ' effort to which I initially responded.

              You argue that the only perfectly safe computer is one with no network connections, and no hope of physical access. This is true. It does not, however prevent a sysadmin from doing everything in his power to mitigate risk to the items for which he bears responsibility; he will keep the things patched, employ a decent firewall, and so forth. It may not be perfectly secure, but it's a whole lot better than shrugging one's shoulders and concluding that because we can't prevent *all* incursions, it's futile to attempt prevention of any.

              Would I have spent money on these cameras? No, probably not. Do they offend my sense of being a free man in a free country? Not really. If I'm out in public, I expect to be seen, and I don't particularly care who's doing the watching. I would be horrified if they were routinely bugging private residences of random citizens, but that's not the issue.

              You question how many deaths have been prevented by the work of the intelligence agencies. I don't know. I suspect you don't either. It's impossible to say; what is concrete, and demonstrable, is that they've interrupted operations intended to cause harm, and retrieved materials capable of doing exactly that. Lacking a crystal ball, I cannot say for sure whether these planned attacks would have been successful, and I'm profoundly grateful that no innocent people were made to find out.

              Lastly, I find your view of those in power depressing. I don't doubt that there are some as you describe, motivated by power alone; I assume a fair number are motivated by cash, and the desire to line their pockets. I do know, personally, one MP who's in it for good, altruistic reasons -- and I struggle to think he's the only one. It's a mixed bag, certainly - but the common factor is that none of them have anything to gain by alienating subsections of the population for no perceptible reason.

              We pay the security services to do a job, and until they blatantly overstep the line, I'm happy for them to get on with it. I'm not privy to the information they have, I have no knowledge of the hints, leads, and clues which decide their strategy. I understand that if this information was made public, so the population could judge the merits of their actions from a position of full disclosure, their jobs would be made impossible, and there would be no point in employing them at all.

              100% prevention would be nice - but I'll settle for mitigation. If you have failed to bury your computer, and yet use a firewall (etc), you are already doing the same. It's not a bad thing.

              1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                @Dave 54

                Mitigation isn't a bad thing. Changing the balance between liberty and security too far towards security and not caring about lost liberty is a terrible thing. I repeat: you will find NO PURCHASE HERE for your ideas, sir.

                I, and many other Reg commenters, would rather live with a little insecurity in order to have liberty.

                Also: you can deplore my view of the people in power all you want, but it's true. True, true true, and true again. If the past fifty years of history haven't taught you this lesson painfully and repeatedly, then there is no hope for us ever to find a common understanding.

                I find your take on the world a little Orwellian, and terrifying. “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear?” I have PLENTY to hide. I’m a normal, every day citizen. I have beliefs that I don’t need certain people to know about. I don’t need to deal with the fallout that comes from bigoted narrow-minded ****s. I engage in activities from time to time that I really don’t need those same people peering in on.

                Maybe I’m sneaking out to cheat on my significant other. Maybe I’m illicitly collecting original 1970’s Dr. Pepper bottle caps. Maybe I’m drag racing down a 10 kilometre long stretch of open prairie where there are no turn offs and no animals or people.

                Maybe I am putting up political posters that encourage people to think critically and vote out the current bunch of twats, or donning my Guy Fawkes mask before joining Anonymous in a Scientology protest.

                Maybe I got SO DRUNK at the bar trying to work up the courage to ask out that cute redhead that I passed out in a puddle of my own sick on the way home, or maybe I took the time to doodle on a friend’s face who did so instead.

                These are all things that in various societies are considered crimes, but that I believe any individual should be allowed to engage in. IF our whole society were monitored ALL THE TIME, then we might as well give up, and live under Sharia law. TO be monitored all the time is to control your behaviour all the time.

                I don’t want to control my behaviour all the time. I want to think critically and not endanger others with my behaviour, but I believe there needs to be a large amount of flexibility in the application of these “grey area” laws. Your world has everyone acting like perfect little automatons in public, terrified constantly of stepping over the line, or so rigidly personally controlled they never make a mistake, never screw up, and most importantly NEVER HAVE FUN.

                I don’t know about you sir, but I’m 18 with less than a decade’s experience.

                I /require/ the ability to go out in the world and make some dumb mistake. I need to ***up, to have fun, get drunk, party hard and LIVE my life. I won’t have the opportunity to do so for long; eventually I will be older, with even more responsibilities than I have now, and frankly…the cool beautiful people won’t want to play with me because I’m old. So I will have, in my old age, only the memories of the times I DIDN’T WASTE in my life to live on.

                If I am not endangering anyone else with my antics, then the man can eat 10,000 buckets of foul and expire.

                If you want to be all proper and stiff upper lip all the time, you go right ahead. I’m going to go put some posters up, dress up like a statue and cause clucky old hens to freak out when they see me on CCTV.

                1. dave 54

                  One moment....

                  "I find your take on the world a little Orwellian, and terrifying. “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear?”"

                  Why would you put this in quotation marks, given that I did not say this, or anything that might be construed as such? I stated - twice, and perfectly clearly - that I have no problem with cameras being located *in public areas*, where anyone passing through can already be seen by anyone else passing through. The things you list, the dirty little secrets you might wish to remain private, would probably not be aired in such places anyhow. Or are your really suggesting that a crowded street is the best place to cheat on your wife?

                  Orwellian? Pff. Actually *read* his work, and understand it, before tossing out peppy little accusations which bear no resemblence to the matter under discussion. A few cameras in a public highway does not herald the dawn of 1984. You're making straw men, and it's painfully obvious.

                  I need neither your permission, nor your approval, to post as and where I please - nor do I need the approval of sub-sixthform handwringers who feel that everything would be sweetness and light if only we all just understood each other. It wouldn't be. Without rules and regulations, it would be a mess. The natural state of humanity is to be dicks to one another, and it's only the enforcement of social contract which keeps us in line.

                  Your view of power is tired, cliched, and false - you're mentally stocking parliament with wall-to-wall scheming Grand Vizier types who desire nothing other than to crush the common man and become enormously wealthy in the process. Seriously, did you get your political views from watching cartoon villains and James Bond films? I have no patience for such blinkered, ridiculous mendacity; if this is your one-size-fits-all genuine understanding of those in power, then you have much to learn.

                  1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                    @dave 54

                    The people in power don't all have to be corrupt and power mad. "The people in power" in any modern government comprise literally thousands of individuals! It is completely unreasonable to believe that all politicians and civil servants are this far gone.

                    That said, the most charismatic individuals; those who lead groups and coalitions and generally influence all the others who are in power are almost universally those type of ambitious, power mad "grand vizier" types.

                    In a group of one hundred civil servants, if only one of them is the super-ambitious power hungry type, 90 of them follow the charismatic madman in a herd-like fashion, and 9 of them raise an alarm…

                    …those nine alarm raisers are irrelevant.

                    Group dynamics come into play even when talking about the leaders of our society, sir. Like it or not, those individuals who collectively form “the state” in every western country are not to be trusted. I may trust Bob, the random MP for my riding. I may trust the bulk of his staff, and maybe even several of the other MPs he works with on Important Committee Number 4. But one of the MPs on the Important Committee isn’t the greatest. He’s a little unstable, and maybe on the take. He’s also far more charismatic than the other members and willing to put in many, many hours lobbying the other members to bring them around to making a decision that isn’t in the best interests of regular people. Eventually he wins out, and we all suffer. Not because all the people on that committee were bad eggs, but because there weren’t powerful enough to stand up to the one who was.

                    What about the people who access services like cameras or databases when they are not authorised to? Or overreach their authorisation? It happens all the time.

                    Just because people are part of the organisation that makes up the state does mean they are trustworthy. I am far less inclined to trust the greedy and ambitious members of our society than I am the others. It is true that to become a member of the organisations that make up “the state” you have to both ambitious and capable, but ambition is very often married to greed. (It should be noted that greed and ambition are not always married with capability, and so there are certainly members of society that are not part of the state who share these qualities, however the signal-to-noise ratio seems to drown them out.)

                    As to reading Orwell’s works, I have. All of them. Several times. Perhaps my understanding of what he was trying to warn against is deeper than yours, as you seem to embrace a level of citizen surveillance that I think would he would severely disapprove of. You are correct in that “a few cameras on the hiway” does not herald 1984, however once the cameras are there it is only a small change in law to use them for something other than their intended purpose. Again; this has happened before.

                    The difference here is that you seem to trust in “the state” to have our best interests at heart, whereas I look at our history and see no such munificence. “The state” is made up of individuals. Individuals can be bought, and they are every single day. The right individual can have a disproportionate impact.

                    You can continue to worry about terrorists. That is your prerogative.

                    Personally, I believe that an ambitious and charismatic individual who is well placed and greedy enough to be bought can do more damage to our society than any terrorist could ever dream of. After all, terrorism is about sewing TERROR. It’s about making us afraid, and in doing so altering the behaviour patterns of entire societies. It is through instruments such as the very individuals that make up the state that the goals and aims of terrorists are met. Every time a liberty is removed, every time citizens are advised to be continually afraid of everything…“the state” is doing the job of the terrorists for them.

                    A short-sighted politician buying into fear or greed can do more damage with the stroke of a pen than a terrorist with a bomb strapped to him could possibly hope to. If you can’t understand this, and why we as citizens must continually resist the encroachment of the state, and the maintenance of the balance between liberty and security then there simply can never be an understanding reached between us.

  4. Chris Hatfield

    Um, won't the terrorist now just plot elsewhere

    Let' s suppose, for the sake of argument, that there were bad people plotting bad things in Brum. Well now, they'll just plot elsewhere.

    Protip for our elite counter-terrorism authorities: be discreet. Be covert. Don't say it's for anti-terrorism - say it's for crime in gerenal.

    I think they could get more helpful tips like this by watching American Dad [from the Family Guy creator]

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      cameras for all

      >>>> Well now, they'll just plot elsewhere.

      Exactly. Which will give the security nazis and nothing-to-hide-nothing-to fear numpties the excuse they need to put cameras everywhere.

      Paris icon because she's used to having cameras all over her 24 hours a day.

  5. Greg J Preece

    It's to find terrorists

    So we installed it where we can keep tabs on them darkies. Filthy forruns.

    What do you mean, racist?

  6. irish donkey
    Thumb Down

    Having worked in Washwood Heath for 3 years

    I would imagine they would have a hard time getting round to arresting terrorists with all the low level crime and intimidation going on in the area.

    We used to watch a guy leave his front door and piss on his neighbour's front door. Quality people

    Our office used to overlook the main drug dealing area. We got bored phoning the Police to report stuff. They just never turned up. And when somebody did get seriously injured by joy riders nobody got done for it even thought we all pointed the finger at who had done it.

    The area really is the pits and nothing to do with terrorists just the scum which are destroying the area for everybody else.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I, for one, welcome our surveillance overlords

    I used to live near aforementioned areas. They are hell-holes of violence and crime - and I can say having been a victim of both of these whilst travelling (on foot/by bus) through these areas.

    Now, even with the safety of a car, I avoid these places like the plague.

  8. Jason Bloomberg

    Unbeliveable ( except it isn't really )

    Have they also put "Terrorist Watch" signs on all the lamp posts ?

    Can anyone think of a better way to give the impression that we are singling out Muslims in this country ?

    Of course we'll hear the disingenuous cries of "Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslim" to justify why Muslims and 'Muslim enclaves' should indeed be singled out but that's likely to lead to greater radicalisation then reduce it. Hell, I'd likely be radicalised if they pulled that stunt on me.

    Treatment of Muslims often looks to me to be an agenda of pure incitement, an attempt to create a self-fulfilling prophecy; like poking at a dog with a stick until it bites to prove it was a dangerous beast.

    Hand grenade as there was no "you reap what you sow" icon.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You're the one that's singling out the muslims

      By making a point of claiming that placing CCTV in a muslim area for "counter terrorism" purposes is singling them out. Many white, CofE areas already have CCTV on mass it's just that you've already forgotten about them or didn't care in the first place. It's only when areas containing large numbers of a so called minority have anything done to them that people seem to start spouting about it...Was there any news coverage when they put up the cameras in my neighbourhood to stop the theiving scum chavs from gathering around and smashing shit up? of course not, and i also bet that no one, until they see this, takes offence to that last comment because I picked on a group of white teenagers rather than some one of a different background and race.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    why are we still buying more? Does anyone watch the millions we already have?

    Not if you get mugged or assaulted. And definitely not if the police were the guilty party. The camera is always broken or a decoy or a giraffe was standing in front of the lens or some other bullshit excuse. But if you spend 15 seconds in a bus lane to let an ambulance pass, they always have the CCTV (ambulance framed out). Funny that.

  10. Arnold Lieberman

    Fundamentalism and terrorism

    What my above esteemed co-commentards don't seem to grasp is the difference between people who hold what we might think of as bonkers views on the world, but pretty much keep themselves to themselves (or can be safely ignored like you would any ranting nutter), and those whose views might possibly just lead to some of them actually doing something physical to other parties. If those scary Christian "fundamentalists" actually went around blowing up, or planning to blow up, e.g. a gay nightclub or a mosque/synagogue etc. then they too would be under heavy surveillance. If the black-hatters started stoning women who are immodestly dressed then they too would feel the presence of the law. But they don't. They just get on with their peculiar lives. So don't worry about them. Worry about the sort of people who would inflict their way of life on others by physical force.

    And if you catch some dealers or twocers in the process then all good.

    1. Elmer Phud

      Who took the 'fun'out of fundamental?

      The fundamentalist Xtians are happy to kill people who work at clinics where abortions are made and they exuse this under the guise of 'protecting life' ffs!

      The large amounts of TV footage with soldiers emblazoned with christian slogans and bible references on weapons and clothing illustrates how much the Middle East fiasco is affected by religious crazies.

      I see in my high street women with head coverings who have to stand behind thier men while the men preach from a book. These fundamentists who hold women as being 'less than men' are the very same Plymouth Brethren we in England managed to export to what ended up as the USA.

      This seems to have formed a bedrock of outrageous denial of human rights under the guise of some omnipotent deity telling them that as they are followers they have the ultimate decision over anyone else, especially those who do not follow thier specific brand of religion or, worse still, none at all.

      These Christian Fundamentalists have a very long history of invading and destroying art and literature in an attempt to force others round to being True Believers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Where do you live .....

        I know of nowhere in England where this level of Christian Fundametalism happens. Not only that I haven't seen a heck of a lot of telly footage of soldiers with christian slogans. Maybe not the exact address just a hint as to then town/city/district ????

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Umm, re: "Who took the 'fun'out of fundamental?"

        We're not talking about former colonies, dear. Hooter off.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      re: commentard

      The scary Christian "fundamentalists" were in charge of two of the most powerful governments in the world. They didn't just blow up nightclubs or mosques, they blew up entire countries.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @AC 12:24

        Except the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were in the names of democracy, not Christianity

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      @Arnold Lieberman

      "If those scary Christian "fundamentalists" actually went around blowing up, or planning to blow up, e.g. a gay nightclub or a mosque/synagogue etc. then they too would be under heavy surveillance."

      You missed abortion clinics, a *real* favorite of their US fellow travelers.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    I don't understand why this has been postponed? Given that these cameras are intended to keep an eye on Islamic extremists why on earth would a consultation be required? Of course they aren't going to want the cameras.

    At the end of the day the solution to the 'War on Terror' is probably far more likely to be good policing activity, than any of your actual military action.

    It is unfortunate for the other people of these districts but presumably once the cameras have done their work they will be removed (or fall iinto disrepair). Clearly these cameras need to be sited in areas where there are swathes of Islamic terrorists. I mean at the end of the day there wouldn't be much point sticking these cameras somewhere like Tonbridge Wells because they aren't going to catch any terrorists.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Titus Technophobe

      I think you've come to the wrong site.

      This is the one you want.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Marcus ?

        So faced with a logical discussion you then retort to cheap racist accusations? Perhaps you need to think about this one a bit more?

        As previous commentators have mentioned the areas targeted by these cameras will also benefit from (hopefully) a general reduction in crime. If this also results in catching Islamic Jihadists where is the problem? Unless you are one of the aforementioned, if you however were one of the people not blown up because a terrorist cell had been stopped you might just forgive the infringement of your liberties?

        It is the confusion generated probably by political correctness between racism and effective policing that caused may of the problems of the last government. As I have mentioned a military response to insurgency is generally inadequate. Perhaps if this sort of policing had taken place as a response to the Twin Towers two large scale invasions wouldn't have taken place, and indeed the Islamic communities would not now be so prone to radicalization.

        1. Graham Marsden

          @Titus Technophobe

          "the areas targeted by these cameras will also benefit from (hopefully) a general reduction in crime. If this also results in catching Islamic Jihadists where is the problem?"

          And if stopping and searching young men for being "suspiciously black or asian" has been shown to work so well in reducing crime, where is the problem?

          Well the problem is the word "IF" because, like all the photographers being hassled under Section 44 there has not been *ONE* example of a terrorist being caught, and of the many young black or asian men, the majority were not engaged in criminal activity, but there have been a *lot* of people harassed whilst going about their lawful business.

          You also sneer at another poster for alleged "cheap racist accusations", but then you raise the spectre of "political correctness" when people stand up and say "No, these civil liberties are *not* negotiable, we won't give up essential liberties for a little temporary security".

          As for your nonsensical claim that "if this sort of policing had taken place as a response to the Twin Towers two large scale invasions wouldn't have taken place, and indeed the Islamic communities would not now be so prone to radicalization" except that it *DID* take place and communities *HAVE* been radicalised!

          But, of course, that didn't affect you, so it's not your problem, is it...?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Titus Technophobe, Obviously you need me to spell it out.

          “I don't understand why this has been postponed? Given that these cameras are intended to keep an eye on Islamic extremists”

          So you think that ethnic profiling is acceptable, watch enough Muslims and you’re bound to get a few terrorists, right?

          “why on earth would a consultation be required? Of course they aren't going to want the cameras.”

          Because if it was your neighbourhood that was plastered with cameras funded from anti terrorism coffers all in the name of “crime pretension” you too would smell a rat and demand to be heard.

          “At the end of the day the solution to the 'War on Terror' is probably far more likely to be good policing activity, than any of your actual military action.”

          True, but this isn’t anything like good policing, it’s a police state thinking it’s ok to surveil anyone they deem a potential threat just in case.

          “It is unfortunate for the other people of these districts but presumably once the cameras have done their work they will be removed (or fall iinto disrepair)”

          You can only wish.

          “these cameras need to be sited in areas where there are swathes of Islamic errorists”

          To believe that Islamic communities have swathes of terrorists IS racist.

          “I mean at the end of the day there wouldn't be much point sticking these cameras somewhere like Tonbridge Wells because they aren't going to catch any terrorists.”

          Only in Muslim neighbourhoods, right?

          This is why i said you were better off at with the BNP

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward


            Firstly, and this is a cheap point, Islam is a religion not a race. The statement that “these cameras need to be sited in areas where there are swathes of Islamic terrorists” might be described as religious discrimination but could be more accurately rephrased ‘Cameras should be sited in areas where there is proven to be Islamic extremism’.

            On your profiling point I also don’t think it is correct to describe Islam as an ethnicity. However it is unequivocal that the percentage of the Islamic community who are extremists is very small, maybe 5%, 2% or less than 1%? But it is equally well unequivocal that the percentage of Islamic terrorists (members of Al-Qaeda for instance) that are Islamic is 100%.

            Given that Al-Qaeda blew up the world trade centre, and the subway in London etc how would you look for them? My suggestion would be overt and covert police action in the areas where they are likely to be found. I personally think this is a much better approach than invading various countries (also Islamic communities by the way) on the somewhat spurious pretence that this is part of the ‘War on Terror’.

            1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

              @ Titus Technophobe

              "My suggestion would be overt and covert police action in the areas where they are likely to be found" - yes, because that was proved to be sooooo effective in Northern Ireland, wasn't it? There were no terrorist attacks, and the crime rate in Belfast was negligible! The people of Northern Ireland just loved being under constant surveillance, and having to show the contents of their bags whenever they entered a large shop. The RUC were regarded with compassion and respect by all and sundry ... sorry, my sarcasm gland has just run out - need more coffee

            2. Anonymous Coward

              @Titus Technophobe: Redefining Bigotry

              I always find it amusing to see racists attempt to either justify their bigotry or redefine it in order to fool themselves.

              I have no new answers to the terrorism threat but I do know that alienating whole communities isn’t the best idea out there.

              If potential terrorists are developing in certain groups of people then the best option for pin-pointing them will be by information gathered from their neighbours and peers.

              If like you suggest we treat everyone as criminals then what do you think is going to happen to that source of information?

              Your approach is likely to help push people into extremism and that can never be a good idea.

    2. dogged

      Cloud-cuckoo land

      "but presumably once the cameras have done their work they will be removed"

      Was that sarcasm? I really can't tell.

      No. They would not be removed. They're never removed. That would involve the Police and Local Authority not deeming themselves Supreme Masters of Everything.

    3. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Nice troll

      Well done, but I would have left more speelink mistaekes in it, you're giving the game away.

      Nice try, though..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Is it possible that you are being just a little paranoid here?

        1. dogged


          There's a difference between paranoia and sound judgement based on highly established precedent.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ Titus Technophobe

      "presumably once the cameras have done their work they will be removed"

      hahahaha, you're trolling right? You do know that a war on terror can never be won don't you? Terror is an idea, you can't kill an idea, and once new methods to surveil are introduced, they stay in place forever. Idiot.

  12. LuMan

    A note from the Devil's advocate...

    Hundreds and hundreds of folk scream at the invasion of privacy and civil liberties that CCTV cameras afford. Right up to the point when someone explodes a bus in Central London, or opens fire on a dozen people in Cheshire, or abducts a schoolchild. Then, all we hear about for months is how the Police are incompetent and don't exploit modern technologies enough to prevent these acts from happening. Unfortunately (and perhaps ironically) CCTV appears to have made little or no impact on reducing crime (go on, Google it). Perhaps the money spent in these cases could be better spent on more active support for the Police??

    1. Graham Marsden

      That isn't Devil's Advocacy...

      .. that's just sensible use of money and resources to put Police on the streets instead of useless cameras which do not *prevent* crime.

      1. LuMan


        Graham, I owe you a beer for common sense!

  13. John Lilburne

    Blibk, blink, blink

    [They will now be covered by plastic sacks]

    Oh great so they are going to put them in burkahs. How very appropriate.

  14. HFoster

    Vierter Reich

    Fight terrorism by marginalising the communities whose marginalised youth are preyed upon by extremists.

    I'd like to meet the fuckwit who dreamt that scheme up. And knock seven bells out of him for trying to turn his part of the UK into a 21st Century Fascist dictatorship equipped with ghettoes as a breeding ground for the kind of trouble he's using to maintain his grasp on power.

    I'd call him a cunt, but I'm sure he lacks both the depth and warmth to qualify.

    1. ian 22
      Big Brother


      I may be wrong, but I've always been of the opinion that anyone having imaginary friends was already a bit marginal. And if those imaginary friends were homicidal, well then...

      Are the voices telling you to prepare your weapons?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    From the highly esteemed and widely read

    Also of note, Birmingham is touted for the 2013 City of Culture.

    1. Graham Marsden

      From the steaming "Militant Islam Monitor"...

      ... "Since 2001, over 1,200 terrorist suspect have been arrested, over 140 have been charged and more than 45 have been convicted of terrorism offences,"

      So between 11 and 12 percent of people suspected of terrorism have been charged but only a third of those were actually convicted, so the success rate has been between three and four percent.

      Meanwhile what has been the reaction of the other 96% or so? "Oh well, I didn't mind being arrested and having my home searched and my family and friends hassled and maybe losing my job because it was all to protect us from terrorism, so that's ok..."???

  16. Wommit
    Paris Hilton


    "They will now be covered by plastic sacks until a public consultation is completed, the BBC reports."

    Nice clear sacks, sacks you can see through. Still they'll keep the rain of the cameras won't they.

  17. The elephant in the room

    I'm not a fan of CCTV but...

    I remember seeing pro-Bin Laden posters in that part of Birmingham long before September 11th.

    It is without a doubt an area infected with treacherous terrorist supporters and until we can cut out the cancer we must keep a very close watch on it to ensure it spreads no further.

    It was moronic to advertise that this is being done unless the idea is to drive them out of areas where they know they are being watched into areas where they think they arent.

  18. Blubster

    "Nice clear sacks, sacks you can see through"

    They're actually normal sacks with a burka style slit where the lens peeps through

  19. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    RE Titus Technophobe

    Symbol says it all.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    just remember to get their plate #'s

    When they show up at the protest., Oh, and take pictures of them as the get off the tube/bus from said zone.

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