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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 February 2008, 12:47 GMT
Mosquito device divides opinion
A high-pitched device that is generally only heard by people under the age of 25 and used to disperse groups of youths is causing controversy. Amid calls in England and Scotland for a ban on the Mosquito device, a shopkeeper and a teenager give their points of view.

ROBERT GOUGH, SHOPKEEPER

mosquito
The device has dramatically reduced the problem, says Mr Gough

Robert Gough runs a Spar convenience store in Barry, south Wales. His was the first premises to use the Mosquito device.

We have had the Mosquito for two years. It was tested here.

The problem we have is large gangs of youths that congregate in the entrance way - hanging around, drinking, and I know other narcotics can be involved.

It ranges from them being annoying to intimidating customers and staff to outright physical assault.

One customer has been mugged for their alcohol, and in the time I have been here there have been three occasions where someone has tried to stab me.

The problem comes and goes. When it gets bad it generally lasts for three of four weeks.

At certain times before we counted over 40 people outside the shop.

The Mosquito has reduced the problem massively.

It still happens, but nowhere near the same amount. It has had a positive effect. Customers have praised us for it.

Where they have moved on to I'm not quite sure.

At the moment we have the device on a timer, but we can override it. Once it comes on in the early evening it stays on until the shop shuts at 11pm.

It's the hardest problem to deal with. With a shoplifter you confront them and they either run off or they stay while you wait for the police.

But when you have a gang of youths there's always going to be someone who, surrounded by the mates and showing off, will escalate the situation.

Even if they ban the use of the device I am going to continue to use it, it's just so important, there's no way I could do without it now.

BARRY, TEENAGE CAMPAIGNER

Barry from Corby, Northamptonshire, is one of several young people who say they have been affected by the device and are leading the Buzz Off campaign - launched by the National Youth Agency and human rights group Liberty.

I don't like it because it is discriminatory towards young people. Because it only targets people under the age of 25, which could mean any young person.

What shopkeepers need to consider is young people are their customers as well and they could end up losing a lot of money by moving people along.

Because even if they go in a shop they will still hear the device.

In our campaign, we are targeting anyone who agrees with the Mosquito device, to try and change their opinion so that they agree with us, because frankly I just think they're terrible.

Barry
Youth clubs would be a better answer, says Barry

If it was aimed at adults then everyone would be upset about it, but because it's young people no-one really cares.

There's adults who cause trouble as well, there a lot of anti-social behaviour caused by adults outside pubs when they come out as well.

I'd use things like CCTV cameras, because that picks up whoever's causing the problem. And use youth workers, who can go and talk to the young people and find out what they need and see what the problem is.

I know that anti-social behaviour is a problem but I just don't believe that Mosquito devices are the way to tackle it.

There isn't actually enough to do. Where I live there's a youth club that's only on one night a week. If it was on every night of the week then we'd have more to do.

We need to have more youth agencies, more places for young people to go to just sit and have fun with their friends. Play pool, watch TV, play computer games and stuff. I do believe that is a good idea.

I think people are being unfair by installing the Mosquito devices because just because there's a group of people, they could be there for any reason.

They could be waiting for another friend to come to the shop so they can meet up and go somewhere else.

I just don't think adults remember what it's like anymore. Times have changed.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
A young campaigner on why the device should be banned



SEE ALSO
High-pitch alarm quietens youths
08 Feb 08 |  Oxfordshire

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