Following the update on the Mosquito story, i.e. that it is to be switched off at a shop in Newport after questions were raised about human rights issues, the BBC story ‘Anti-gang noise box switched off’ carries an astounding quote from Compound Security, the manufacturers:
“The Merthyr based manufacturer Compound Security Ltd insisted the device does not breach the human rights of young people who can hear it.
Marketing Director Simon Morris said: “The noise has been tested extensively on dogs and cats who are totally unaffected by it.
“The device has a small range and it takes at least 10 minutes for the annoying nature of the noise to take effect.
“People have a right to assemble with others in a peaceful way – without violence or threat of violence.
“We do not consider that this right includes the right of teenagers to congregate for no specific purpose.”“
What? Now people have to have a specific reason for being somewhere? Teenagers don’t have the right to ‘congregate for no specific purpose’? Maybe you should have to get a permit before going outdoors, indicating what purpose your trip has? It’s like living in V for Vendetta.
What makes it even odder is that if groups of people do have a specific purpose for congregating, then that brings public demonstration/gathering/Riot Act-type implications.
Presumably if the teenagers’ express specific purpose for gathering outside a shop really were ‘to intimidate customers’, that would be OK, then, according to the argument in the quote?
Now I accept the possibility that the quote may have been edited by the BBC, or parts taken out of context, and so on. That’s happened to me before, and it can be embarrassing. But if that quote is accurate, then, well, I’m still too shocked to know what to say.