Oct 032010
 
 October 3, 2010  Featured News, Non-U.S., Surveillance

The Guardian has a good summary of a limited investigation conducted by the Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police, Sara Thornton QPM, into the public relations disaster which was the West Midlands Police Project Champion.

This was a Labour government approved and funded plan to literally create CCTV Camera and Automatic Number Plate Recognition enforced apartheid ghettos in two districts of Birmingham.

Such mass surveillance schemes attack or destroy the fundamental human rights to freedom of travel and freedom of association, of millions of innocent people. Such schemes are a victory for our enemies, who aim to destroy our free society and help to create domestic extremists or terrorists.

The full text of the actual Review: Project Champion Review (.pdf)

Read more on SpyBlog.org.uk

From the review, just some of the conclusions (footnotes omitted):

The very practical problem regarding the surveillance of suspected terrorists during CTU investigations was considered to have been addressed by establishing a permanent surveillance capability in a semi-residential area of predominantly Asian ethnic groups. This thinking should have been challenged by strong ethical and strategic leadership right from the start and questions should have been asked about its proportionality, legitimacy, authority, necessity, and the ethical values inherent in the proposed course of action.

There is very little evidence of consideration being given to compliance with the
legal or regulatory framework.

The consultation phase was too little too late, and the lack of transparency about the purpose of the project has resulted in significant community anger and loss of trust. As one community leader stated to the Review Team, “this has set relations back a decade.”

During 2007 the threat level in the United Kingdom was critical and there were many covert counter terrorist investigations being carried out by the Security Services and the police. The situation was grave and there were practical difficulties with the surveillance of suspected terrorists during CTU investigations in the Sparkhill and Alum Rock areas. A proposal was made to establish a permanent surveillance capability in the area. While such a security ring exists in the City of London, this proposal was to create something similar in a semi-residential, predominantly Asian area. This thinking should have been challenged from the start and questions should have been asked about its proportionality, legitimacy, authority and necessity; and about the ethical values that underpinned the proposal.

Thanks to Ian Geldard for sending me this link.

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