The US-developed FlashCam is designed to issue verbal warnings to street ne'er-do-wells, miscreants and scalliwags, thereby cutting outdoor mischief to zero overnight.
That's the theory, but we haven't heard sight nor sound of the FlashCam since, and, as any Londoner knows, the mean streets have not yet been successfully purged of the prostitutes who were the principal target of the device.*
Thanks, then, to reader Dave Dodd for the following:
I thought this sinister reminder of the dark days in which we live might be of interest. I took this photo of some unusual street furniture yesterday near Cannon Street station in the City of London.
The device appears to be quite similar to a lamp post, in that it's a post, but in place of a lamp there appears to be the mounting for a yet to be installed CCTV camera. Most telling however is the cluster of 'tannoy' style loudspeaker-horns half way up the pole. Just the right height for guiding a flailing mass of blood thirsty coppers to their quivering prey, or simply remote-screaming at passing citizens.
Last year a section of the 'V is for Vendetta' film was shot near my flat in Camden. The set featured futuristic Nazi camera-shout-poles that looked EXACTLY like this. I've tried to find some evidence of this on the film's website but I've had no luck so far.
What do you think it's for?
We reckon Dave's answered his own question there - it is indeed a "futuristic Nazi camera-shout-pole", albeit missing the vital CCTV camera by which the powers that be might scan passing commuters for serious breaches of the anti-litter laws and passing strumpets for outrages against public decency.
If you don't believe us, here's a pic of a fully operational shouting lamppost, complete with a pair of menacing "No Entry" sentinels, situated on Crutched Frairs at the junction of Crosswall near Fenchurch St Station.
According to our informant Michael Dear, it's been operational for around six months, although he did not offer whether littering and prostitution in Crutched Friars have been brought under control as a result.
This shouting lamppost deployment is most disturbing. Readers can consider themselves duly monitored. ®
*Well, you try to get your end away while some bloody lamppost is ordering you to "pull your trousers up and push off home, you dirty old man".