3,500 ultra-sonic dispersal devises told to Buzz Off

12 February 2008

Today makers and users of ultra-sonic dispersal devices, which emit a high-pitched sound that targets under 25 year olds, are being challenged by BUZZ OFF campaigners who say the device is neither a fair nor reasonable way for a civilised society to treat young people.

The national campaign - spearheaded by young people supported by the Children's Commissioner for England, Liberty, Groundwork and The National Youth Agency - is calling for the end to the use of all ultra-sonic dispersal devices, of which there are estimated to be 3,500 in use across the country.

The BUZZ OFF campaign is driven by young people who have been affected by the device. They aim to provoke debate by reaching out to parents, businesses leaders, the Police and local authorities to discuss the increasingly negative way society views and deals with children and young people.

The campaigners also are calling on young people and adults to support BUZZ OFF and to help locate where these devices are being used. They will offer support in helping other young people to get them switched off in their area - by encouraging community-led solutions to address local issues, and anti-social behaviour where it exists.

The young people spearheading the campaign, said:

"They are a discriminatory way to tackle anti-social behaviour that affects our human rights. There is no evidence or proof that they work as they simply move the problem on. They make us feel like second class citizens and not valued members of a society that we're part of."

"They imply that all anti-social behaviour is caused by young people. We do not condone anti-social behaviour we just want those causing the problem to be targeted and not all young people"
Fiona Blacke, Chief Executive of The NYA said:
"The National Youth Agency believes that the ultrasonic device is unsuitable for dealing with anti social behaviour because it indiscriminately impacts on young peoples use and enjoyment of public space. As a result, young people may be displaced and congregate in less safe areas. The National Youth Agency believes that Police, local authorities and business instead should work collectively with young people and their communities to address the underlying causes of anti social behaviour in areas that cause concern. "

Sir Al Aynsley-Green, Children's Commissioner for England said
"I have spoken to many children and young people from all over England who have been deeply affected by ultra-sonic teenage deterrents. These devices are indiscriminate and target ALL children and young people including babies regardless of whether they are behaving or misbehaving"

He added: "The use of measures such as these are simply demonising children and young people, creating a dangerous and widening divide between the young and the old. We are sending out the message that we as a society don't value our children and young people and we don't respect their rights as outlined in the United National's Convention on the Rights of the Child. This has to end now."

Liberty Director Shami Chakrabarti said:
"What type of society uses a low-level sonic weapon on its children? Imagine the outcry if a device was introduced that caused blanket discomfort to people of one race or gender, rather than to our kids. The mosquito has no place in a country that values its children and seeks to instill them with dignity and respect."

Kathleen Marshall, Children's Commissioner for Scotland said:
"I am right behind the BUZZ OFF campaign. I am shocked at the use of this ultrasonic weapon against our children and young people. Such indiscriminate targeting would not be tolerated against any other section of our society. Young people in Scotland have called for an end to their use and I have taken this issue forward for them with the Scottish Government, the police, supermarkets and the manufacturers. I am glad to see that young people in England are campaigning to stop them in England too."