Thursday, June 17, 2010

Baggies move to Sparkbrook

No, no not West Brom, but poly bags which we learn the best dressed Birmingham CCTV's will be wearing after a row about targetting of the intrusive devices.

According to the BBC,

Bags are to be put over scores of surveillance cameras in parts of Birmingham after allegations residents were not properly consulted.
Safer Birmingham Partnerships (SBP) said 218 cameras had been put up in Washwood Heath and Sparkbrook, where there are large Muslim populations.
The cameras were financed by a counter-terrorism fund, but the SBP said they would tackle all crime.
The cameras will not be used until consultation has been carried out.

Thus is the latest aspect of a saga involving the cameras and how they are to be used, and I can see the point of some of the complaints.

However there are a couple of key questions that need to be asked. Firstly, if these cameras are indeed joint use, that is both anti-terror and anti 'normal' crime, then why is it that there use and placing is up for debate here and nowhere else. Should Councils get the OK of the local population anywhere before they start festooning our streets with their high-tech panopticans?
And secondly how much is all this costing. According to figures on the Big Brother Watch website, each camera is costing approximately £3,000 per annum to run. Making these 218 cameras the best part of £650,000 in mere running costs, and that doesn't even begin to factor in the capital costs.
FOIs are making there way to the Safer Birmingham Partnership as I write.

BBW on the story