CCTV cameras will bark orders at people who misbehave in the streets of eight major British cities as part of a government scheme to cajole people into respecting authority.
Faceless bureaucrats will tell people off when they are being “anti-social” by dropping litter, behaving drunkenly, fighting, and, presumably, smashing up CCTV cameras and otherwise dismantling the apparatus of the nanny state.
But these bureaucrats will be voiceless too – CCTV operators taking part in the scheme will use recordings of children’s voices to browbeat wayward adults.
Cameras will be fitted with loud-speakers, but it is doubtful they will be fitted with microphones so people can answer back.
Using recordings of children’s voices will make it harder for those in opposition to the surveillance society to be defiant of the talking cameras. Moonies and rude gestures will most definitely be a no-no.
Children will be recruited from schools to take part in the £0.5m scheme and shown round CCTV operating rooms on school trips.
Louise Casey, the government’s “co-ordinator for respect”, said in a statement this morning: “We are encouraging children to send this clear message to grown ups – act anti-socially and face the shame of being publicly embarrassed.”
Graeme Gerrard, chair of the CCTV Working Group of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said a Middlesborough trial of the scheme had been used for “dispersing intimidating groups loitering in shopping areas, parks and housing estates”. He did not say where the youths went when they’d been moved on.
A Home Office statement on the matter said the government would use the “power of pestering” to teach people what was unacceptable behaviour.