Mr Piotr WACH, the Polish member of the European Council will this week be calling for a ban on the use and marketing of the Mosquito device by the European Council PACE committee (Note; The Council of Europe have no power to create legislation and so CANNOT ban the device) stating that the Mosquito device infringes certain aspects of the 1998 Human Rights Act.
Compound Security Systems (www.compoundsecurity.co.uk), manufacturer of the Mosquito device strongly disagree with the position that Mr. Wach has taken in relation to the Mosquito device.
Mr. Simon Morris, Commercial Director of Compound Security Systems Ltd., states that the company’s position in relation to the motion submitted by Mr. Wach is that:
“The Human Rights Act 1998 is intended to balance one individual’s rights against another’s. This means that the rights of the storekeepers to pursue their trade must be taken into account as well as the rights of individuals affected by the sound of the Device. Furthermore, the wider interests of the community as a whole may be taken into account when considering the impact of any activity. Studies of the use of the Device have shown that members of the general public are more likely to come into areas where the Device is employed than they would if there were teenagers loitering there.
Article 3 of the European Court of Human Rights (incorporated into the Human Rights Act 1998) protects an individual from inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. We have carried out preliminary searches on the case law which suggests that ill-treatment must attain a minimum level of severity if it is to fall within the scope of Article 3. The assessment of this minimum is relative; it depends on all the circumstances of the case, such as the duration of the treatment, its physical or mental effects and, in some cases, the sex, age and state of health of the victim, etc. Case law suggests that in the case of interrogation of detainees, the level of noise is calculated to isolate detainees from communication; this is considerably more traumatic than the sound emitted by the Device. In any case, detainees cannot walk away from the sound whereas people near the device can. Furthermore, our preliminary searches have found no instances where exposure to a particular pitch of a sound, rather than its volume, constitutes degrading treatment.
Article 11 of ECHR provides a right to assemble with other people in a peaceful way. However, such assembly must be without violence or threat of violence. This is a qualified right which may be withdrawn to protect the rights and freedoms of others including the property owners where people are assembled. Having carried out preliminary searches we do not consider that this right includes the right of teenagers to congregate for no specific purpose, and therefore this right is not being infringed by the use of the Device. The Device is not preventing people from assembling, but rather discouraging them from loitering in any particular place. Young people who can hear the sound emitted by the Device are not restrained but are free to move elsewhere.
While Article 14 of the ECHR prevents discrimination against individuals and groups on various grounds, the grounds do not specifically include discrimination on the grounds of age. It is possible for the courts to find discrimination on grounds other than those specifically cited; we have performed preliminary searches but have found nothing to suggest that groups of young people have the characteristics of a group that can be discriminated against.
We do not believe that any human rights are breached the use of the Device, says Mr. Morris. We believe that any claim that proper use of the Device contravenes human rights principles would be weak and vexatious. Notwithstanding this, interference with the rights granted under the Human Rights Act 1998 is permissible if it has its basis in law and is done to secure a permissible aim and is necessary in a democratic society. Our preliminary searches have found nothing to suggest that use of the Device is unlawful; its use is intended to secure a permissible aim (prevention of crime, protection of public order) and its use is not excessive but rather is carefully designed to meet the objective in question”.
Mr. Morris also states that the Council of Europe have NO ability to BAN the Mosquito as they have no legislative powers. That is something that would have to be undertaken by the EU Parliament. Compound Security have been lobbying for 3 years to obtain legislation to prevent the use of the Mosquito device in public areas, except by Police and Local Authorities, providing the legislation was such that the Police and Local Authorities used the device according to strict guidelines. We have been working closely with MP’s and senior members of the UKYP who support this position, recognising the fact that when used correctly, the Mosquito is a valuable and extremely cost effective tool for combating ASB.
To date, we have had no success in convincing the powers that be to implement such measures of control, to our continual disappointment.
In 2008 a written declaration was submitted to the EU Parliament asking for a ban on the Mosquito device. Only 8% of MEP’s voted in support of a ban and the matter was dropped, as it was not felt that the Mosquito device infringed human rights or was a hazard to health.
ASB is an increasing problem in both the UK and Europe and with the budgets for policing being cut dramatically over the next 4 years, Mosquito is the ONLY tool available to allow Police to tackle ASB cost effectively.
Author: Simon Morris, Commercial Director, Compound Security Systems Ltd.
Tel: +44 (0)1685 350418