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Smile for the camera, it may save your life.


THE thing about crime is this: you are either tough on it, or you aren't.

The same holds true for the fight against terrorism, where the repercussions of an impotent response are greatly magnified by the bloody potential for wholesale slaughter.

Of course, what we are talking about here is the threat posed by Islamic fanatics who are motivated by a warped determination to destroy Western democracies. They don't want to bomb their way on to the political agenda - they want to blow it up, full stop.

Brain-washed jihadists are Britain's Public Enemy No 1 and they are living in our midst, right here in the West Midlands, using our health services and our education system, probably drawing benefits, as they study chemical compounds and detonation techniques. Mass murder is being plotted behind the net curtains.

So when anti-terrorist police suggest it might be a very good idea to install security cameras, some of them covertly, in neighbourhoods in Birmingham where disillusioned young men are recruited for jihad, it's worth listening to them.

In fact, the threat is such that it's worth more than listening to the cops and their colleagues in MI5 and the Secret Intelligence Service. It is worth letting them get on with their jobs.

For this reason, we can only wonder in flabbergasted, distressed amazement at the decision not to turn on a network of anti-terror cameras that have been installed at a cost of pounds 3 million in Sparkbrook, Sparkhill and Washwood Heath.

Potential The devices, nearly 220 of them, some capable of reading vehicle number plates and flagging up suspects, are ready to go. They have the potential to save lives. It's as simple as that.

The technology was paid for by the Association of Chief Police Officers' Terrorism and Allied Matters Fund. If these senior officers didn't think there was a real threat from criminal odd-balls in these communities, they wouldn't have suggested the network. It's not like they, or any other Government-funded office or initiative, have money to burn in the current climate.

But West Midlands Police, emasculated by political correctness, has decided not to turn the cameras on due to a backlash from gobby local councillors and MPs who fear losing their cushy seats at the next election if they don't pander to the civil liberties lobby, hysterical community leaders and jihadist apologists. Among the flame-fanners is Tanveer Choudhry, a Lib Dem councillor for Springfield, who said the local area had been "stigmatised as a terrorist ghetto."

Choudhry said police should remove the cameras until they "fully consulted" with local communities. What a brilliant idea, leaving the fight against terrorism in the hands of local activists who shout the loudest at poorly attended backstreet meetings.

If anyone should be accused of stigmatising these neighbourhoods it is Choudhry & Co and misguided MPs who have ramped up tensions by highlighting an issue that only the guilty and the paranoid should be concerned about.

The presence of the cameras alone in no way stigmatises law-abiding communities.

Young Muslims blowing up buses and trains - that's what stigmatises communities.

It is an inescapable fact that all of the districts to the east of the city have significant Asian populations and they are among the most closely-knit Muslim communities not only in Birmingham, but in the country at large.

The areas have been linked to terrorist plots and murderous radicalism. Jihadists don't tend to live in white-majority Sutton Coldfield.

They live in communities where they can blend into the fabric of everyday life and evade suspicion. That's why cameras are needed in these areas.

It's not racist; it just makes sense. If the security services are to be believed, there will be another al-Qaeda inspired terrorist atrocity on British soil.

Innocent civilians will be killed. When this happens, the do-gooders and civil rights watchdogs of Birmingham will have blood on their hands.
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Jun 20, 2010
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