Police 'deeply sorry' for CCTV overkill

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The Independent Online

West Midlands Police have apologised for installing more than 200 surveillance cameras in two largely Muslim neighbourhoods.

The £3m CCTV system – dubbed Project Champion – sparked outrage when it was installed in Sparkbrook and Washwood Heath in Birmingham. Dozens of cameras were hidden and some faced into residents' homes.

Chief Constable Chris Sims said he was "deeply sorry" that his force had got the balance between counter-terrorism and intrusion "so wrong".

A report by Thames Valley Police of his force's handling of the scheme found "little evidence of thought given to compliance with the legal or regulatory framework" before the cameras were put up. "The lack of transparency about the purpose of the project has resulted in significant community anger," it concluded. Mr Sims fully accepted the findings.

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