retrospectively consulted

Now this is truly remarkable. The Safer Birmingham Partnership has agreed to suspend its ANPR deployment. Hilariously, this is operationalised by putting bags over the cameras’ heads; no doubt the good people at Harry’s Place will be furious, as Muslims and RESPECT have at last succeeded in forcing something to cover its head. As supporters of the only political party that explicitly promises more CCTV, the fact that it is a surveillance camera that gets to vanish under the burka will no doubt be especially poignant for them.

However, the 72 covert installations will not be embaggened, as this would reveal their location. This probably means that any bag-free camera one encounters in Sparkbrook can be taken to be one of ’em. And of course it is amusing that they think there is any secrecy left to preserve. But the really interesting fact here is that there is going to be a retrospective public consultation, which seems to imply that ACPO and friends would like to remedy their mistake in not giving the public the opportunity to be ignored before acting, and having ignored the public’s opinions, to remove the bags and turn the cameras on.

What else could be subjected to retrospective public consultation? In a sense, all British governments are subjected to such a consultation – they do what they damn well like for five years, and then the public has an opportunity to voice inchoate rage or cynical resignation. Hence our charming new government.

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