The London Borough of Bexley has decided to empower Bexley Youth Council with the decision on the use of ‘Mosquitoes’ in the Borough – a noise emitting device, used to prevent youth disorder.
Bexley Council prides itself on listening to its residents. So when young people started to raise concerns over the use of Mosquitoes the Council asked the Youth Council for their thoughts on the subject. This resulted in the recommendation to allow them to make the final decision, rather than officers, on any future devices being installed.
Cabinet Member for Community Affairs, Cllr Katie Perrior said: “We are really proud that we have developed this innovative way of ensuring that our young people have the final say on where Mosquitoes are deployed. Bexley values the opinions and concerns of all its residents – including the young, and will work with them to develop effective ways of working.”
Mosquitoes emit a high pitched noise that young people are more likely to hear because their hearing is not fully developed. They are marketed as a tool to prevent youth disorder and only placed in areas where youth disorder has been reported and other methods of reducing it have not been successful.
Bexley Youth Council and Bexley’s Children’s Parliament raised concerns on their use on both health and human rights grounds.
Council officers met with both groups to explain that there were no known health issues and that Human Rights are always considered before installing a new Mosquito. During these sessions the young people accepted that in certain circumstances there was a need for Mosquitoes, but they felt that there was a need for a formal method of control and that they should have a say in whether one is used.
Agreement was reached that in all cases where the Council intended to use a Mosquito then the Youth Council would have the final say – except where there was a requirement in law (such as a licensing condition).
Bexley currently has five Mosquitoes installed.