But according to the Guardian, the cameras have been paid for by a £3 million grant from the Terrorism and Allied Matters Fund, which has been previously used to monitor potential targets but not whole communities.
Respect Party councillor for Sparkbrook Salma Yaqoob said that the funding arrangement was not made clear to the local authority, which was only told at a briefing the money was from the Home Office.
“The terrorism aspect was certainly not emphasised in that meeting. In fact it was me having to be portrayed as the awkward squad, or even paranoid, for even raising the issue of whether this was really about counterterrorism,” Yaqoob said.
“I raised my concern then: is this really about spying?” she said, but who was told “No, this is about burglary and crime.”
The surveillance of Muslims is in addition to the government’s Prevent extremism program, which the Institute of Race Relations has already castigated as “one of the most elaborate systems of surveillance ever seen in Britain”.
Prevent, set up by the Home Office over two years ago, offers additional funding to work with community groups to effectively spy on all Muslims as potential terrorists.