The Metropolitan Police are to replace safety cameras with Japanese tourists. The Commissioner said "There's already a Japanese tourist taking a picture on every street in London, sometimes more than one. They're low-maintenance, polite, reliable and already there."
The Met plans to phase in the new "Japcams" by the end of next year. "Firstly, all GATSOs will be replaced by HEROs. They will be equipped with Sony digital cameras and 1 terrabyte USB cards that aren't even on sale in Britain yet. They will have the latest face recognition software. Next, we will introduce a wave of GEISHAs, that will be targeted at young male drivers and be marketed with the slogan "Smile and click". Thirdly, and my favourite, will be the top of the range NINJA cameras, which will be trained at defending themselves against angry motorists. We are planning to put them in troublespots like Brixton."
The use of "human cameras" is not new. In the 1970s, when inflation in Italy was in triple figures, many Italians offered their services as speeding cameras in parts of the southeast. Unfortunately, the plan failed when none of them turned up for work. A few years later, "Irish cams" were introduced in South London, but they kept blowing each other up. "French cams" are being used in some parts of the country. They are fitted with loudspeakers and question passers by about their paternity.
If Japcams prove successful, they will be altered to provide other services, for example when a road needs to be blocked, a SUMO cam could be used.