Campaign targets ‘Mosquito’ noise pollution
A campaign has been launched to cut the noise pollution from dispersal devices targeted at teenagers.
The Buzz Off campaign, spearheaded by young people and supported by the Childen’s Commissioner for England, Liberty, Groundwork North Northamptonshire and The National Youth Agency, is calling for an end to the use of ultra-sonic dispersal devices, known as the Mosquito.
Calls have already been flooding into the campaign since it was launched last week to identify the location of the devices, which are often placed outside shops to deter groups of teenagers from congregating there and discourage anti-social behaviour.
It is estimated there are 3,500 of the devices in use across the country. They emit a high-pitched sound that only be heard by under 25-year-olds.
The campaigners argue that the device is not a fair or reasonable way to treat young people, and the teenagers leading the drive said it makes them feel like second class citizens.
Sir Al Aynsley-Green, Children’s Commissioner for England, said: “These devices are indiscriminate and target all children and young people, including babies, regardless of whether they are behaving or misbehaving.
“The use of measures such as these are simply demonising children and young people.”
Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti said: “What type of society uses a low-level sonic weapon on its children?
“Imagine the outcry if a device was introduced that cause blanket discomfort to people of one race or gender rather than to our kids.
The campaigners are calling for police, local authorities and businesses to work collectively with young people and the local communities to address the underlying causes of anti-social behaviour.
Ann-Marie Lawson, youth development coordinator for Groundwork North Northamptonshire, works with young people on projects to improve their local environment, and wants to see more of these schemes used to combat anti-social behaviour and build bridges between young and old.
She told edie: “From our point of view, the Mosquito does little to deter anti-social behaviour. What it does do is it moves the problem 25 metres down the road.”
She added: “I would rather work with those young people to look at the consequences of their behaviour.”
The high-pitched sound is now available as a mobile phone ringtone, allowing under 25s to receive calls and text messages without teachers or older work colleagues being able to hear.