Scottish Government ‘not opposed’ to ‘mosquito’ device ban

The Scottish Government has said it would consider a ban on controversial 'mosquito' devices. Picture: Compound Security Systems/PA Wire
The Scottish Government has said it would consider a ban on controversial 'mosquito' devices. Picture: Compound Security Systems/PA Wire
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The Scottish Government is “not unsympathetic” to an outright ban on the use of the mosquito devices used in a bid to prevent groups of youths from gathering in some areas.

Community Safety and Legal Affairs Minister Annabelle Ewing told MSPs at Holyrood that ministers were opposed to the gadgets, and said she had written to councils and others to find out their views.

READ MORE: Controversial anti-teen Mosquito device installed at Hamilton station

A petition was brought before the Scottish Parliament in 2010 calling for the devices, which emit a high-pitched noise audible only to those under the age of 25, to be outlawed.

At that point the Scottish Government opted not to legislate, but when asked about the matter during Holyrood questions, Ms Ewing said: “I am not unsympathetic to those who take the view that we should look to an outright ban on mosquito devices.”

READ MORE: Can the mosquito anti-teen device tackle anti-social behaviour?

But she added: “At the present time there are simply no reliable figures on how widespread or otherwise the use of mosquito devices is in Scotland.

“And to proceed successfully down a legislative route we would of course need to show that any legislation is justified as a proportionate response.”

The minister made clear that the government is “opposed to the use of mosquito anti-loitering devices” as she explained: “We do not believe their use is consistent with our approach to tackling anti-social behaviour and note that the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has expressed concerns over their use and children’s right to movement and peaceful assembly.”

She said she had written to all of Scotland’s 32 local authorities as well as other public bodies, such as Police Scotland and Transport Scotland, on the matter.