Antisocial Behaviour: Crime Prevention

Home Department written question – answered on 28th June 2010.

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Photo of Tom Watson Tom Watson Labour, West Bromwich East

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department

(1) what representations she has received from Mr Howard Stapleton on the legality of the ultrasonic antisocial behaviour deterrent device, Mosquito; and if she will make a statement;

(2) if she will ask the Health and Safety Executive to investigate the effects of the ultrasonic antisocial behaviour deterrent device, Mosquito;

(3) if she will assess the Council of Europe's report, Prohibiting the marketing and use of the Mosquito youth dispersal device with regard to her responsibilities for the prevention of crime; if she will bring forward proposals in line with the report's recommendations to prohibit the device; and if she will make a statement;

(4) whether her Department has issued guidance to police and local authorities on the use of the ultrasonic anti-social behaviour deterrent device, Mosquito.

Photo of Nick Herbert Nick Herbert The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice

I have not received any representations from Mr Stapleton about the Mosquito. I have no plans to investigate the effects of the device. In relation to the Council of Europe Report and the issue of guidance, our stance is that we do not see this as an issue on which we should intervene.

We believe that it is for local agencies dealing with antisocial behaviour to decide whether or not to use the devices and to use them according to the manufacturer's instructions. The UK Health and Safety Executive has concluded that based on the information and evidence available, while some short-term subjective effects are possible with prolonged exposure, there would appear to be little likelihood of people exposed to this device suffering long term ill health.

If citizens wish to complain about use of the devices they may contact their local environmental health officer. There is legislation available which can be used against statutory noise nuisance. To date we know of no such complaints being made.

Of course, should evidence be produced that these devices are harmful to hearing or health in the longer term we would reconsider our position.

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