Mixed opinions on Birmingham's surveillance cameras


Safer Birmingham Partnership has installed 218 cameras, including hidden ones, mainly in the Washwood Heath and Sparkbrook districts.

Plastic bags are being put over some of them while a public consultation is carried out following local objection.

Residents and business owners in the Sparkbrook area spoke to BBC News about their concerns.

Surinder Singh, 37, shop owner

Image caption,
Surinder Singh has noticed an increase in cameras

Surinder Singh, who co-owns Uncle's Home Stores in Ladypool Road, said he had seen an increase in CCTV cameras in the area in the past month.

He said: "I believe there should be more bobbies on the beat rather than cameras.

"I do not think the public should be victimised or feel like they are being watched 24/7. There should be some privacy.

"I think consulting the public is a good thing but at the same time, what is the purpose of the cameras?

"There should not be hidden cameras - that's not right."

Ashiq Rahman, 39, and Eugennie Cortezo, 29

Image caption,
Ashiq Rahman and Eugennie Cortezo have lived in Sparkbrook for 13 years

Ashiq Rahman and Eugennie Cortezo, who live in Kyrwicks Lane, have been Sparkbrook residents for 13 years.

They said two cameras have been put up on the street in the past month.

Ms Cortezo said: "I think they are a waste of time on this road. We don't have any problems.

"It's a close-knit community, we are very multi-cultural, everyone gets along with everyone. I do not see the point.

"There are two cameras more or less opposite each other a few hundred yards apart."

Mr Rahman said: "They put them up four weeks ago. They are a waste of time - nothing happens in this road.

"It feels like we are being watched all the time. What's the real reason for putting them up?"

Tony Hyland, 62, retired gas worker

Image caption,
Tony Hyland feels safer with the cameras

Tony Hyland moved to the area a couple of months ago and said he was in favour of CCTV cameras.

The 62-year-old said: "I did not even notice them. Knowing they are there does make me feel safer.

"It's not good if they cover them up. It makes me feel safe."

Aliya Maskeen, 23, call centre worker

Image caption,
Aliya Maskeen is concerned that the cameras have replaced street lamps

Ms Maskeen lives opposite one of the cameras installed on Kyrwicks Lane.

She said the street lamps have been taken down to make way for the CCTV cameras, meaning her home is in darkness in the evenings.

"The street has gone really dark," she said. "We are not really happy with the cameras.

"It's a little bit of an invasion of privacy. I do not think it is necessary. Getting rid of the street lamps to install cameras is not necessary."

MM Alam, 36, television station manager

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MM Alam said the cameras were a good idea

Mr Alam had his car window smashed in Sparkbrook recently, and feels CCTV cameras will make a positive difference to the area.

He said: "It's good that we have cameras in this area - there are a lot of people here.

"I do feel safer knowing they are here."

Arshad Mahmood, 34, postal worker

Image caption,
Arshad Mahmood does not think cameras should be in residential areas

Arshad Mahmood lives and works in Balsall Heath, near Sparkbrook.

He said: "I have seen cameras in Stoney Lane and Ladypool Road. It does not really bother me.

"I do not know why they have been put up. I think in some areas it is a good thing - such as Ladypool Road because of the way people drive.

"I do not think they should have them in residential areas."

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