England’s robo-cops will take your picture and then yell at you

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"Pics or it didn't happen!"

As you may know, England loves itself some surveillance. In 2009 London alone had about 7,431 CCTV cameras to Paris' 326. Though theoretically in the service of law and order that's some cheeky peeking.

It seems a housing complex in the London borough of Camden has taken things even further, with a security camera that also speaks, warning no-goodniks from on high that it has taken their photographs and will be prosecuting them, and then telling them to GTFO of the area.

In darkness the camera automatically takes a photo when triggered by a motion sensor. A voice then warns: "Stop! This is a restricted area and your photograph was just taken. We will use it to prosecute you. Leave the area now."

The shouting shutterbug is designed to curb "anti-social behaviour," which I took to mean reading a magazine in a crowded bar or not offering guests something to drink, but which probably refers to drug use or vandalism.

Needless to say some residents found the animatronic heckler off-putting. The council that manages the complex has apologized, saying the voice feature was activated inadvertently, which is undoubtedly the same lame excuse that will be rolled out during the eventual robot apocalypse. "The death-bot's cyanide cannons were meant to be switched off. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience"

But the best bit has to be that the device uses a "menacing, US-accented voice." If only they programmed it with classic American slang as well! That would really teach those anti-social layabouts. Think of the sudden, exotic fear that being called a "jerkoff" instead of a "wanker" would engender, or if the cybernetic watchtower instructed rascals to  "bite me" instead of merely to "sod off."

In fact, I think we've hit upon what they really need in order to deter undesirables: robo insult-comics.