Headlines: February 13th, 2008

People are being urged to work with their local authorities to find the best methods to disperse young people behaving in an anti-social way and to ensure that the young people still have somewhere to let off steam. The Local Government Association stressed the need for a joint approach in its response to calls for a ban on a device that uses high-pitched sounds to disperse groups of youngsters.

The equipment, known as the Mosquito, uses the fact that high frequency hearing deteriorates when people reach their 20s. It means the sounds from the device can be heard only by young people and can cause them discomfort.

Sir Al Aynsley-Green, the Children’s Commissioner for England and Wales is leading a campaign to have the devices banned on the grounds that they are indiscriminate and target all children and young people. He said such measures demonised children and young people and failed to address the root cause of anti-social behaviour.

But the Local Government Association said councils were using a range of methods to disperse groups of youths from specific areas, including talking CCTV cameras and the so-called ‘Manilow Method’, where opera, classical or unfashionable pop music is played. A spokesman said,“It is imperative that local people work with their local council to ensure the most appropriate technique for ensuing that not only anti-social behaviour is dispersed but also that children have somewhere to go to release their energy in a safe place which does not disturb or annoy residents.”