A video posted on the internet showing a flash camera giving a verbal warning to a local resident as he entered communal gardens at his council flat block, has sparked anger on the internet.
Local resident Jim Jepps filmed himself on the Camden estate as he walked home on Saturday night.
The video shows the camera, installed by the local council shows, issuing a warning:
"Stop! This is a restricted area and your photograph is being taken. It will be sent for processing if you do not leave the area now."
Viewers of the YouTube video accused Camden council of using "Orwellian" measures and wasting public money. However others defended the council for making an effort to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour.
A spokesperson for the council said: “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."
The camera was originally installed outside Walker House due to an "increasing number of concerns from residents on the estate and complaints of antisocial behaviour."
But Mr Jepps wrote on the Big Smoke blog that "The Metropolitan Police website has a useful feature where you can look up where crime and anti-social behaviour is occurring. It shows that over the entirety of 2011 there was not one arrest or call out over anti-social behaviour or any other crime in Walker House. Not one for an entire year."
Camden retorted that the flash cameras have led to "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."
Mr Jepps concluded "This camera will not solve any anti-social behaviour, it is anti-social behaviour."