Chipping Norton tackles anti-social behaviour

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Chipping Norton tackles anti-social behaviour

Posted: 09/11/2006 21:14:37

Chipping Norton is tackling anti-social behaviour head on by fitting the Mosquito, an ultra-sonic device, in the Westgate Shopping Centre to deter trouble-makers.

The Mosquito system generates a pulsed ultra-sonic tone at around 16Khtz, which is close to the limit of the hearing range of people under 25 years old. While the noise causes no physical pain or damage to the body, it does become extremely annoying after five to 10 minutes of exposure, resulting in youngsters leaving the vicinity of where the system is fitted.

The Mosquito will be installed in the main pedestrian area of the Westgate Centre following complaints from shop owners and nearby residents that groups are gathering and causing trouble. The system will only be turned on at specific times to target problem periods and the majority of people over 30 can only just hear the noise, if at all, due to natural age-related hearing loss. The high frequency also means the noise is unable to penetrate solid objects so won't be heard outside the premises.

“The system is already widely used by police and local authorities around the UK but this is the first time it will be installed in North Oxfordshire,” explains PC Simon Towers, Anti-Social Behaviour Manager for the West Oxfordshire Community Safety Partnership. “It has received great results elsewhere in the fight against anti-social behaviour so we are hopeful it will have the desired effect in tackling one of Chipping Norton's Neighbourhood top priorities.”

One of the businesses expected to benefit from the installation of the Mosquito Unit is the Co-op Supermarket. PR Manager for the Midcounties Co-operative, Adrian Barradell said: “We are aware that young people hanging about the entrance area to the shopping centre have, in the past, been off putting for our customers. We welcome the installation of the Mosquito Unit and hope it will reassure people, especially those visiting the store in the dark winter evenings. The key thing about the Mosquito is that it can be activated as and when it is required and it has been shown to be a useful tool in tacking anti-social behaviour.”

The Chipping Norton Neighbourhood Action Group held its annual review of priorities at the end of last month with a total of 320 members of the public being surveyed regarding their concerns about safety and quality of life. The results have been calculated and 'youths hanging around' remains one of the top three priorities for the Group to tackle over the next 12 months.

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