More controversial mosquito devices – used to drive away youths terrorising neighbourhoods – could be put into action in Shipley after they won the Home Secretary’s backing.
Police say the device, which produces an annoying, high-pitched whining noise which only young people can hear, has been used “very successfully” in areas such as Wrose and Baildon. It could now be introduced in Windhill to scatter youths gathering outside shops there following complaints about anti-social behaviour. Inspector John Tatham, head of Shipley Neighbourhood Policing Team, said:
“We have used them in the past and they have been very successful.”
“The aim is to use it intermittently to move initial problems away and then come in and do intervention and education work, like stepping up patrols in a certain area.”
Police are now in discussion with shops and Council officers about installing a temporary mosquito in Crag Road, Windhill, to drive away youths outside a parade of shops.
“The mosquito is one potential option we could use as part of an overall solution,” said Insp Tatham.
Civil rights campaigners and MPs have called for mosquitos to be banned as they are discriminatory against young people. But the makers of mosquito, Compound Security Systems, of Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, said that Home Secretary Alan Johnson had now “stressed his personal commitment to the devices.”
He was responding to a call from Labour MP Natasha Engel for them to be banned. Mr Johnson said:
“There is evidence that shows these devices can be very helpful where people feel a congregation of rowdy young people is adversely affecting quality of life.”
In December, rail company First Great Western was forced to turn off the device at a Devon station after complaints from young travellers.
It has since confirmed that it has reinstated the mosquito but rather than leaving it running full-time, it will be used now at specific times of the day.
Compound Security commercial director Simon Morris said:
“We are pleased to see that the Government has at last given support to the mosquitos’ use by police and local authorities.”