A SCOTLAND-wide ban on the use of controversial sonic devices to disperse teenage gangs in Scotland has been called for after a report said they are "ageist".

A Scottish Government-commissioned research from by the Scottish Youth Parliament and Young Scot reveals that 85 per cent of youngsters who have been subjected to one of the Mosquito devices said it had left them in discomfort or had annoyed them.

But the study said that there were "a range of complex legal and constitutional considerations associated with both the restriction and ban of these devices", although the Scottish Government "continues to not support their use".


The research revealed that the devices are far more widespread than first thought, with young people reporting that they exist in over three out of four of Scotland's 32 local authorities.

Aberdeenshire topped the list of the percentage of reports of the devices with 14 per cent with the City of Aberdeen second with 10 per cent and Glasgow and Edinburgh third and fourth with nine per cent and eight per cent.

The device is used to stop teenagers gathering had been installed at stations which are frequently targeted by marauding youths.   

But ScotRail said in November that it had banned the use of the anti-loitering device just months after one was introduced at Helensburgh Central station.

The company brought in the mosquito device – which emits a loud alarm sound particularly sensitive to younger ears – in response to an escalation in incidents of anti-social behaviour, including attacks on the company's own workers.


But the firm said that after "thorough review" of the devices in place at Helensburgh Central and Hamilton Central stations, would be removed. The research report said a  study of 725 young people found some expressed that these devices were "discriminatory and made them feel unwelcome in their communities".

It said: "In addition to the health and lack of deterrent effects...concerns were expressed that the devices were discriminatory against young people both in terms of being ageist, and in affecting all young people irrespective of their involvement in anti-social behaviour."

 The study report said that the devices were found at bus stations, outside shops, in town centres, outside schools and outside private residences.

And a research survey of 725 people found that four out of ten experienced health effects for discomfort from encountering a device.

The study also found the devices had a " limited impact" in preventing young people from gathering with survey respondents saying they "did not perceive the devices to be effective" in deterring other young people from loitering.

SNP MSP Christina McKelvie said: “This is welcome research – adding momentum to the campaign to ban mosquito devices across the country.

“ScotRail’s action last year highlighted just how ineffective the devices are – which unfairly target young people in public spaces, and this survey simply confirms this fact.

“The SNP Government has previously written to local authorities and other key partners to emphasise their strong opposition to the devices.

“With this support from Young Scot and the Scottish Youth Parliament, it’s clear that young people across the country are now standing up against mosquito devices – and I hope that companies and councils listen and ban them for good.”