Re-booting Robocam

BACK to the hectoring American Robo-camera-cop at Walker House in Somers Town and Camden Council have just released one of my favourite press statements of all time. You see: IT WAS THE NEW BATTERIES WOT DUN IT. Let’s not let the machines take over the world just yet.

A win for Jim Jepps and The Big Smoke scored in less than 48 hours, that statement in full below:

“Tackling antisocial behaviour is a top priority for Camden Council and we’re committed to ensuring the safety and security of each and every one of our residents.

The flash camera on Walker House estate was installed in September 2011 in response to an increasing number of concerns from residents on the estate and complaints of antisocial behaviour. 

All flash cameras have the capacity to deliver voice messages when activated but in this instance it appears that voice messages were inadvertently activated when the camera batteries were replaced four to five weeks ago.  

We do not want to stop residents from enjoying their open spaces and communal areas and under no circumstances would we want voice messages to be used in areas where they may be disturbed. The voice messages will be deactivated as soon as possible.

Since the flash camera was installed, we have received various positive feedback from residents on the estate who have been pleased with the way it, along with increased housing patrols, has resulted in improvements to the place where they live. 

We have installed similar flash cameras as a temporary deterrent in a number of other locations across the borough. They have led to a number of antisocial behaviour orders being obtained as a direct result of evidence from the cameras. 

Flash cameras are only ever installed as a temporary measure and are always supported by deployment of other resources.

 We will only consider the use of technology as a deterrent when it can help tackle antisocial behaviour and offer value for money.”

3 Comments on Re-booting Robocam

  1. Theo Blackwell // February 7, 2012 at 10:45 am //

    Amusing, but it’s only a ‘win’ if it was a policy, which it isn’t – a fact easily clarified with the council before going viral.

    Sadly the error when replacing the batteries on the camera has fed a rather hysterical over-reaction by Big Brother Watch and people who like using the word “Stalinist” out of context a lot and given a boost to those who want to get rid of CCTV for good – I doubt that would be popular at all with residents living locally.

  2. Theo, most of the ‘hysterical over-reaction’ I heard was from residents complaining that they felt the council was trampling over their basic rights again. You can’t really blame them with the choice of words: ‘Your photo will be sent for processing’.
    The last time I heard the word used like that was here:
    You wonder why people didn’t like it?

  3. Theo Blackwell // February 7, 2012 at 11:10 am //

    Like your V for Vendetta point but kind of makes my point for me.

    I say ‘hysterical’ on the part of pressure groups because it was an error which the council apologised for. To be clear: it was not council policy.

    Nevertheless it didn’t stop various pressure groups running around excitedly pointing at the example and shouting ‘fascist state!’ lots, when a simple email to the council to check would suffice.

    Camden apologised and would never have put something in like that (or paid for it) unless people had wanted it, and even then there would have been a democratic check.

    Other than that we make no apologies for CCTV where residents want it.

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