An anti-crime partnership has agreed to delay the switch-on of more than 200 security cameras after complaints that they will infringe residents' civil liberties.
The Safer Birmingham Partnership, which acknowledged that it should have been more explicit about the role of the city's Counter Terrorism Unit in setting up the network, has now pledged to place bags over the cameras. A statement issued on behalf of the partnership said a full and in-depth public consultation of the project would now be held.
The scheme, named Project Champion, has been criticised by human rights lawyers and some residents angry at the siting of some of its 218 number plate recognition and CCTV cameras.
The network, predominantly installed in Sparkbrook and Washwood Heath, which both have a large Muslim community, was financed under a counter-terrorism initiative.
Despite being supported by the Safer Birmingham Partnership for the wider crime reduction benefits it would bring to the area, the network will not now be switched on until the results of the public consultation are known and analysed.
In addition, bags will be placed over the cameras to provide reassurance to local communities that footage is not being captured.
A joint statement on behalf of Assistant Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, of West Midlands Police, Cllr Paul Tilsley, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, and Jackie Russell, Director of the Safer Birmingham Partnership, said a number of issues had been raised in relation to Project Champion.
Their statement read: "We believe it is right to give local people a chance to express their views. We are hearing both positive and negative opinions and we need to formally capture these and report them back. It is important that the facts surrounding the reasons for installing the cameras and the benefits they can bring are made clear.
"We completely accept that earlier consultation with councillors from Sparkbrook and Washwood Heath - the main focus of the project - should also have included elected representatives from all other areas affected. We also accept that we should have been more explicit about the role of the Counter Terrorism Unit in the initial project management of Champion. We apologise for these mistakes, which regrettably may have undermined public confidence in the police and the council."
The statement continued: "Although the Counter Terrorism Unit was responsible for identifying and securing central government funds, and have overseen the technical aspects of the installation, the camera sites were chosen on the basis of general crime data - not just counter terrorism intelligence. Day to day management of the network was always intended to become the responsibility of local police."