The absurdity of political correctness strikes again.

Posted on September 30, 2010


An array of seven CCTV (closed-circuit televis...

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Politically correct absurdity is on display, once again, in Britain for all to see.   

After terror plots were uncovered in the predominantly Muslim neighborhoods of Birmingham, a 2007 plan to install surveillance cameras in and around the city was launched. It included over 200 closed circuit television cameras  and license plate recognition devices.  But before the electricity was turned on, the program was halted.  It seems the folks in these neighborhoods, which have been associated with Islamic extremism in the past, were “offended.”  This has lead to the police apologizing for any hard feelings to the residents’ delicate sensibilities.  How dare they even think of looking closer for any possible criminal activity!  

From USA Today:  

LONDON (AP) — British police apologized Thursday for a counterterrorism project that installed surveillance cameras in predominantly Muslim neighborhoods, saying that although the cameras had never been switched on, the program had damaged trust and caused anger in the community.  

The surveillance program, which saw more than 200 CCTV cameras and number plate recognition devices put up in parts of Birmingham, central England, was conceived in 2007 after a series of terrorist plots were uncovered in the city.  

 Residents complained that they were not consulted about the program, and civil liberties groups protested that the measures were heavy-handed.  

 Protests from human rights groups led police to decide not to begin using the cameras after an installation program was completed. Some have been covered with plastic bags to reassure locals that footage or license plate details are not being captured.  

 In 2006, police and intelligence agencies uncovered a plot in Birmingham to kidnap and behead a British soldier. The ringleader, Parviz Khan, was later sentenced to life in prison. (emphasis mine)  

 The city was also the site of the first arrest in the U.K. of an al-Qaeda inspired terrorist — Moinul Abedin, who was detained in 2000 and later jailed, after security services uncovered a bomb factory at his home. (emphasis mine)  

The 218 cameras, including some hidden devices, were put up in two mostly Muslim residential neighborhoods in Birmingham that had been associated in the past with Islamic extremism. West Midlands Police constable Chris Sims said authorities had made a mistake in not considering the impact of the cameras in intruding into people’s privacy.  

 “I am sorry that we got such an important issue so wrong and deeply sorry that it has had such a negative impact on our communities,” he told reporters.  

First off, what right to privacy is there in public locales?  Aren’t the streets of Great Britain already teaming with surveillance cameras?  Just last year the country was described as “‘beyond Orwell’s worst fears.”   If there are cameras on every corner , why should these neighborhoods be treated differently?  

Secondly, with the history of criminal activity linked to extremists in their neighborhoods, you would think the residents of the city would WELCOME extra surveillance for their own security.  Instead, they are angered and offended by the very idea that police would like to take a closer look for possible criminal misdoings in their streets.  Before the cameras were even turned on, the residents wanted an apology.  

The only thing more inane than the residents being angered by the extra surveillance is the police apologizing for their attempt to try to make the area more secure.  Should the police put cameras up in areas where no crimes occur?  No, of course not.  Surveillance is called for when there is a history of criminal activity or the likelihood thereof.  There is a reason that more surveillance cameras watch the doors and cash registers of retail stores and banks than cameras monitoring schools, libraries, or churches.   History and likelihood of crimes dictate where surveillance should be the greatest. 

Apologizing for doing the most logical thing and installing surveillance cameras in these neighborhoods, which have past links to terrorism, is ridiculous. It shows that for both the residents of the city and the police, the politically correct position is more important than the safety of those who live there, and that is a sad state of affairs.    

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