By Christine Lavelle
THE SCOTTISH government is at the heart of a human rights row over a controversial device aimed at getting rid of anti-social teenagers.
The ‘anti-teen’ alarms emit an irritating high-pitched sound which can only be heard by people under 25.
The Council of Europe claims the device “treats young people as if they’re unwanted pests”, and is calling on all parliaments to outlaw it.
Human rights groups and youth organizations have also been lobbying ministers, saying they have to act to ban the alarm.
Isabella Sankey, director of the independent human rights organisation Liberty, said: “The mosquito is an unregulated, untested sonic weapon that causes blanket discomfort to all young people including babies.
A spokesman for the Scottish Youth Parliament said: “We think that mosquito devices cause harm to young people and should be banned.”
It is believed that there are around 3,500 mosquitoes in circulation across the UK in areas such as shopping centres and parks, taking advantage of young people’s ability to hear high frequencies.
But as concerns are raised about how the frequency can impact on health, police chiefs and local authority officials say they are restricted from taking action.
A spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland said: “The use of these devices is not illegal.
“Noise complaints are dealt with by local authorities who take action where it is deemed appropriate.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Local agencies are best placed to decide the detailed strategy and range of measures which can best tackle antisocial behaviour problems in their communities.
“The power to bring in a nationwide ban on the selling of this device lies with the UK Government.”
However, not everybody disagrees with the concept of these controversial gadgets.
Shopkeepers across the country say the mosquito has been very successful in tackling teenage antisocial behaviour.
Si Morris, commercial director of Compound Security Systems – the firm behind the device – said banning them would be “ludicrous.”
He said: “There are lots of misconceptions regarding the mosquito with claims it can damage hearing, harm unborn babies and works by being loud and painful.
“These are absolute rubbish.
“The device shuts down after 20 minutes and the volume level is way too low to cause any damage.
“The Council of Europe and Liberty aren’t taking into account the human rights of people whose lives and businesses are ruined by teens behaving badly.”