The ‘Mosquito’ emits a high pitched noise only audible by children and young people under 25, and is intended to cut anti social behaviour.
The council’s Liberal Democrat cabinet is to hear that the devices are indiscriminate and do little to solve the problem of antisocial behaviour. The cabinet is not expected to endorse the device, despite it having been used in the past as a condition for granting licenses to off licences.
Councillor Shaffaq Mohammed, Sheffield City Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “If you are under 25, so-called ‘Mosquito’ devices are deeply uncomfortable to listen to. Residents living nearby will understandably have little sympathy with young people who are being a nuisance, but what about those who are just going about their normal business, or babies and young children out shopping with their parents? The ‘Mosquito’ doesn’t discriminate and that’s unfair.
“What we’ve found is that these devices don’t tackle the underlying causes of anti-social behaviour, they just move it somewhere else. We need to work with young people rather than against them.”
Harry Carter, Sheffield’s Member of the UK Youth Parliament and a campaigner against the devices, said: “It’s encouraging to see senior councillors publicising their opposition to the mosquito device. It’s a device that discriminates against young people, making no distinction between those that are law-abiding or being anti-social. The council, I believe, recognise that a more hands on approach to tackling anti-social behaviour would be much more beneficial to communities.”
The Mosquito is manufactured by British company Compound Security Systems. Their website features a testimonial from Arbourthorne Labour councillor John Robson, who says: “Sheffield City Council Licensing Board (of which I am a member) have on several occasions made it a mandatory condition of a licensing application that a mosquito device be fitted to a shop that sells alcohol – where there is evidence of youth nuisance in the neighbourhood.”
The Council of Europe voted to ban the device in June, but the ban is not binding unless the European Parliament vote to enforce it.