Talking CCTV cameras could soon be barking orders on the streets of Hounslow to stamp out bad behaviour and embarrass offenders.

CCTV operators who spot any acts of antisocial behaviour – from drunks chucking kebab wrappers on the pavement to street fights – will be able issue commands through megaphones placed just below the cameras.

The plans are part of a £1.5m CCTV investment by the council to make the town centre safer and provide security for shoppers, after it emerged Hounslow has less than 0.5 cameras per 1,000 people – less than the Shetland Islands.

It is hoped the new approach will also boost crime figures, as the latest statistics show officers are solving just 8.2 per cent of car crime and 10.8 per cent of all robberies, with borough commander Chief Superintendent Dave Bilson saying the figures were “frustratingly low”.

As well as introducing the one-way speakers council bosses want to upgrade cameras to include facial recognition on town centre CCTV, number plate recognition and thermal imaging in parks. Thermal imaging would be used to track suspects hiding in bushes or missing children and adults.

Shoppers and traders cautiously welcomed the new technology but human rights campaigners said it was a step too far.

Liberty spokesman Mairi Clare Rodgers said there were concerns the talking cameras could soon replace police patrols.

“None of us likes litterbugs or yobs playing up on a Saturday night, but talking CCTV cameras are no substitute for police officers on the beat,” she said.

Council bosses pledged to upgrade Hounslow town centre CCTV first, then kit out cameras in well known trouble hotspots in Feltham, Chiswick and Brentford. Bosses were unable to confirm yet how many cameras would be fitted with loudspeakers in the high streets as it would depend on the level of trouble and openness of the area.

Hounslow Council head of parking services, Kevin Hagan, said: “CCTV with speakers is something we are particularly interested in looking at as a solution for antisocial behaviour in Hounslow town centre but it is subject to any budget remaining.

“CCTV of this type works because it embarrasses people into stopping what they are doing. The speaker needs a certain type of dynamic, where you have got a certain type of anti social behaviour like fighting or littering. If you take that into account, with the amount of takeaways in Hounslow Town Centre, it can help eradicate low level problems.”

Other UK councils have piloted the talking cameras where operators must follow a “warning script”, including first reminding offenders they are being watched and their behaviour is being recorded.