Graffiti artists, prostitutes, drug dealers and miscellaneous street scum across the UK face a new challenge to their nefarious activities today - the Q Star FlashCam-530 shouting lamppost currently being deployed across the nation.
The vociferous US-developed FlashCam has already been attached to street furniture in 52 locations in London, Glasgow and Birmingham, where it has apparently been successful in holding back the tide of al fresco criminality. Q Star's blurb explains:
The FlashCam-530 was designed to deter vandalism. The two most popular applications are deterring graffiti and illegal trash dumping. Water companies are using the system as a first line of defense in protecting water storage tanks against intruders. Some systems are being used to deter burglary. Other customers report it deters drug dealing and prostitution.
The FlashCam-530 senses motion up to 100 feet away. When motion is detected, the system starts taking 35 mm photographs. A bright flash goes off and a loud voice message warns the intruder to "leave the area now" and that his/her photograph is being taken.
Q Star's head honcho, Steve Galinsky - a former London Met police officer - enthused to the Guardian: "They have already caught lots of people - some quite literally with their pants down, engaged with prostitutes. The look of utter amazement on their faces when the camera starts to shout is priceless."
We don't doubt it. The Guardian does, naturally, wonder exactly how the FlashCam distinguishes between strumpets administering illicit sexual relief to punters and old ladies out walking their dogs. We are reminded of the most excellent case of blaggers who lifted 60 CCTV cameras in Wakefield, despite said kit being fitted with speakers which enabled remote operators to issue stern warnings to would-be miscreants.
Naturally, it all went a bit Pete Tong, with the thieves making off with the lot and the only effect of the amplified deterrent being to convince an old lady next door that she had heard the voice of God "telling her, in a strong Lancashire accent, to leave the vicinity as soon as possible". ®