1:45pm Thursday 3rd July 2014
A HIGH-pitched alarm designed to stop teenagers loitering in public places has come under fire from a local campaign group.
Twenty-one-year-old Gareth Bromhall, from Milford Haven, is leading a campaign to get a controversial ‘Mosquito anti-loitering device’ removed from outside Milford Haven Library.
Installed in 2012 following complaints from Cedar Court tenants about littering, vandalism and antisocial behaviour, the ‘mosquito’ device emits a high-frequency noise that can only be hear by people under 25.
Former care worker Gareth, who suffers from anxiety and depression, says the device discriminates against young people, and is particularly harmful to people with autism, mental illness or mobility problems.
Gareth first heard the alarm earlier this year, when he visited the library to pick up some books prescribed to him by his doctor to help with his condition.
“As soon as I got out the car there was this really high-pitched screech, it was horrible,” said Gareth.
After contacting the Port of Milford Haven, which owns the library building, Gareth was told that the alarm is only meant to go off when the library is shut, and that a fault had occurred.
Gareth says he is now too afraid to visit the library in case the alarm goes off again and triggers a panic attack, and is fighting to get the device replaced with “less invasive” technology such as CCTV.
He has started a Facebook campaign group, and will be launching a petition against its use this Saturday (July 5) at 11am, outside Milford Haven Town Hall.
As well as encouragement from friends and family, Gareth has received support from Unite Community, anti-youth unemployment campaigners Youth Fight For Jobs, and Pembrokeshire-based organisation Cwtch, which supports young adults with chronic health conditions.
“The reason we’re doing this is because we see it as part of a wider attack on young people,” said Gareth.
“If you type Mosquito device into the internet the first thing you see a picture of two young people in hoodies.
“Not all teenagers or young people are ‘youths’ – we’re not all bad people.”
But Port of Milford Haven spokesman Mark Andrews defended the alarm’s use, saying there had been “a marked drop” in incidents of anti-social behaviour since its introduction.
“There has been some confusion in reports about the nature of this device,” he added.
“It is legal and used regularly in shopping and other public areas across the UK where it has been extremely successful preventing anti-social behaviour.”
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