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South Yorkshire Police - Press Release - Rotherham

Written by Admin on Friday 07 April 2006

Rotherham has become the first town in South Yorkshire to use a Mosquito™ to tackle the problem of anti-social behaviour - and with amazing success.

But this Mosquito™ has a different sting to the little insects that blight our annual holidays.

The Mosquito™ is the latest weapon in the fight against anti-social behaviour, one of the priorities in the Safer Rotherham Partnership's strategy for reducing crime and disorder across the borough.

It uses complex, high frequency sound to chase away annoying teenagers who gather on street corners, on shopping parades and in other problem areas.

One has been in use in Rotherham for about a month now, and the results have been quite dramatic.

Over the last 12 months, police have been called to the location, on average, once a day as a result of complaints about young people climbing on roofs, using doorways as toilets, drinking alcohol and generally causing a nuisance in the area.

"It has been a real problem area for us," said Crime Reduction Officer, Pc Barry Regan, from South Yorkshire Police in Rotherham. "We have even had reports of people in cars dropping their kids off there and of others giving the youngsters alcohol."

"But since the Mosquito™ went in at the beginning of March we have not received a single complaint from that area," said Barry.

The Mosquito™ works by emitting a very high ultra sonic tone that, although completely harmless, is extremely annoying.

But, because the frequency is so high, the vast majority of people over the age of 25 have lost the ability to hear it. The longer someone is exposed to the sound, the more annoying it becomes.

Extensive trials have shown that teenagers are acutely aware of the Mosquito™ and move away from the area where it is deployed within a few minutes. But, because it takes a minute or so for the sound to make any impact - even on teenagers - genuine visitors who are only in the area for a minute or so are unlikely to suffer any consequences.

The Mosquito™ is easily fitted, works off just a 12 volt power supply and can easily be moved from location to location. It is usually fitted with a timing device that switches the unit on intermittently at times when problem youngsters gather in a particular area. It can even be used on conjunction with a portable CCTV camera to protect the unit and identify offenders.

"Currently we have two of the units in Rotherham," said Barry "and the results of our first deployment are particularly encouraging. We shall certainly be trialling the units in other parts of the borough where youth nuisance is a problem."

"Although we have only had the units for a few weeks I have already received a number of requests from people wanting us to deploy one in their area," he added.

One of the eight priorities in the Safer Rotherham Partnership's strategy is to reduce the incidence and impact of anti-social behaviour in the borough.

The target is to achieve a 25 per cent reduction in the total number of individuals reporting anti-social behaviour to the police or the local authority by March 2008, and to reduce criminal damage by 5 per cent by the same date.

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