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Wednesday 21 December 2011

The Therapy Zone

Village Announcements

"Good morning, good morning, rise and shine, rise and shine. Before our programme of early morning music, here are two announcements....."

"Here is a warning.... there will be intermittent showers throughout the day."

"Ice cream is now on sale, the flavour of the day is strawberry."

"Your attention please, here is an important announcement. Number 6 has been declared unmutual until further notice. Any unsocial incident involving Number 6 should be reported immediately to the appeals sub committee. Thank you for your attention."

    Those are a taste of village public announcements, soon to be coming your way! Well at least for the time being in the city of Middlesborough - England.
    Most towns and cities throughout the world have CCTV cameras and through them they say that! 'Big Brother' is watching you, well I don't know about that. However in Middlesborough a certain number of cameras now have the added extra of 'Loudspeakers' which makes me think of it in terms of the Prisoner rather than big brother! Now operators sat in a Control Room, although I think of them as 'observers' watching monitors and when they see acts of an unsociable nature they can politely shame offenders into acting more responsibly.
    The system allows control room operators, or in village terms 'Observers' who spot anti social acts - from dropping litter to late night brawls - to send out a verbal warning "we are watching you!"
    And it works, people are shamed into picking up that piece of litter they have just dropped, to stop riding that bicycle in a pedestrian precinct, to stop fighting, or this is a non-alcoholic zone, please refrain from drinking! One young man who was asked by an observer through a loudspeaker to stop riding his bicycle in a pedestrian area, dismounted immediately and slunk quietly away.
    Apparently this system is not so that the authorities can keep tabs on you, but simply to keep the streets safer for the law-abiding majority of citizens, whilst at the same time changing the attitudes of those who cause trouble. It challenges unacceptable behaviour and makes people think twice.
    The operator or observers in the control room have to be polite when asking citizens to cease unsociable behaviour, not "oi, you, stop doing that you dirty little scrote!"
    As far as I can see the village is nearer than any of us could ever imagine and being the success that it is in Middlesborough - England, you can bet your bottom work unit that it will not stop at Middlesborough!
    One day you yourself might hear yourself being posted as being 'Unmutual' or hearing the announcement that ice cream is now on sale, the flavour of the day is strawberry!
    The village is nearer than you think, another giant step towards it has been taken and it all began in Middlesborough - England.

Be seeing you

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