Thursday, 20 January 2011

Mosquito devices are anti young people - I am not!

Today in parliament I'll be asking the Scottish Government to ban the use of mosquito devices. The full name is Mosquito Ultrasonic Youth Deterrents and the name says it all. They're not about deterring anti social behaviour, they're about deterring young people. That'll include young people who are doing nothing wrong. The device emits a painfully loud high pitched tone that only those under the age of 25 can hear. Some shopkeepers use it to tackle the problem of young people congregating at their door. It's only a problem if they're behaving in an anti social way so why subject EVERY person under the age of 25 to it? I am aware that even when young people are doing nothing wrong, some older people feel nervous about approaching and I can understand that boisterousness can be mistaken for aggression. So I see why they might not want big groups of young people hanging about their doorway.

But why not do what the Co-operative does in that case? They don't believe in Mosquito devices so they've piloted playing classical music outside 6 of their shops. And guess what. It's worked a treat. It's not punishing them, it just stops it being cool to hang about there so they move on. (There is of course the issue that if there is anti social behaviour, moving it on is no answer but that's an argument for another day.)

Don't forget that EVERYONE under the age of 25 can hear this apparently hideous noise. That includes the young mother trying to do her shopping. And it includes her baby who will become distressed with the noise but be unable to tell mum or dad why they've suddenly started screaming.

Andrew Deans, a Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament submitted a petition to the Parliament's Petitions Committee of which I am a member. You can read his evidence session here. Today I will be pressing the Scottish Government to support his suggestion and ban the use of the devices altogether.

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