Mosquito device found at Edinburgh’s Waverley Mall.

Date: 5th June 2019
Category: Disability, Basic Health and Welfare, Civil Rights and Freedoms, UN Convention Against Torture (CAT), Other human rights treaties and mechanisms


The mosquito device has been branded as a ‘successful’ deterrent for anti-social behaviour. It is used to deter loitering of young people by emitting sound at high frequency, so it can be heard mostly by younger people. Mosquito  devices have been overtly condemned by the UN, Council of Europe and the Children’s Commissioner all requesting that they be banned, yet on 30th May 2019 another device has been discovered at Edinburgh’s Waverley Mall.

Scottish Youth Parliament staff member Jamie Dunlop tweeted about discovering a mosquito device on the Waverley Steps, outside the Edinburgh Waverley Mall, and reported hearing the device whilst inside the Sainsburys. Waverley Mall responded via Twitter by saying  “Thank you for your feedback. The devices were actually installed for the sole purpose of deterring pigeons from our food court as we were receiving a number of complaints regarding their presence. We are closely monitoring the situation with regards to the impact of these devices.”

Last year, an investigation by the Council of Europe found that the controversial "mosquito" device should be banned from Britain immediately because it violates legislation prohibiting torture and infringes a number of children and young people’s rights. It found that "inflicting acoustic pain on young people and treating them as if they were unwanted birds or pests, is harmful [and] highly offensive."

Together has also been pushing for a ban for many years, and most recently submitted a shadow report to the UN Committee against Torture for consideration as part of its 2019 review of the UK. This call was echoed in a submission from the Children and Young People's Commissioners of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland highlighting the mosquito device as one of  nine key children’s human rights issues of concern and recommends action be taken to hold governments accountable.

Read the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland position statement on the use of mosquito devices here