Home Secretary Alan Johnson has reiterated his support for the controversial Mosquito sonic device which can be used to disuade groups of young people from gathering outside shops.
In a House of Commons question, Labour MP Natasha Engel asked the minister to consider banning the devices, which emit a high-pithced sound which is audible only to the young, because they were “so effective and uncomfortable for young people that they are often used to disperse them.”
She claimed if the device was used on any other group in society there would be cries of discrimination.
Johnson said: “I do think there is evidence that shows these devices can be very helpful where people feel a congregation of rowdy young people is actually adversely affecting their quality of life.”
However he suggested they were appropriate in cases where other systems had not worked.
Simon Morris of Mosquito manufacturer Compound Security said: “We are pleased to see that the government have at last given support to the Mosquito’s use by police and local authorities. We have been campaigning for two years to get officials to meet with us to draw up a national implementation policy for the use of the device and we hope this will happen now it has Home Office approval.”
Last week the government announced new powers for police to disperse groups of youths, as well as confiscate alcohol from under 18s.
However Morris said that with forthcoming budget cuts for police and local government there would be less money available to tackle anti-social behaviour and vandalism.
“Implementing the Mosquito with a clear set of usage guidelines for the police and local authorities has the potential to save millions of pounds annually,” he said.