SCOTLAND’S Youth Parliament (SYP) has called for a ban on controversial “mosquito” anti-loitering devices that emit a “torturous” high-pitched noise that only the under-25s can hear.

The devices have been used by shops in a bid to stop teens hanging about outside, and recently ScotRail installed one at Hamilton Central train station after staff said they were worried about youth violence.

Chair of SYP Amy Lee Fraioli, who uses Hamilton station frequently, says the noise targets indiscriminately, and MSPs have expressed concerns that the sonic deterrent could have an adverse affect on autistic children.

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“There are many ways to solve anti-social behaviour issues, especially in a manner that doesn’t target one section of society, because the anti-social behaviour at Hamilton Central is not all caused by young people,” Fraioli said.

Edinburgh SYP member, Adam Paton, added: “I am disappointed that Scotland, which sees itself as a world leader in forward thinking, still allows organisations to use a device that not only violates the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child but also indiscriminately punishes all young people.

“I hope that ScotRail reverses their decision, and turns to other methods to deal with anti-social behaviour rather than one which causes discomfort to all young people travelling through their stations.”

When the devices were installed in June, Bruce Adamson, the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, condemned the use of the device and called for it to be banned as he claimed it was “a breach of young people’s rights”.

The device does not cause any permanent damage to a person’s hearing. However, a study undertaken by the German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety suggests that the noise may have impacts on children beyond their hearing, potentially causing nausea, dizziness and pain, as well as affecting their sense of balance.

When Labour MSP Monica Lennon wrote to ScotRail asking if the devices were safe, specifically with regard to people with autism, the train operator told her no risk assessment had been carried out.

Jenny Paterson, director of The National Autistic Society Scotland, said: “Many autistic people have very sensitive hearing, experience sensory challenges and struggle with social anxiety.

“As well as being painful to hear, the sudden, high-pitched buzz of the ‘mosquito device’ could further increase the social isolation we know autistic people face by making them feel unable to access the public spaces that many of us take for granted.”

A ScotRail spokesman has said: “As part of this multi-agency approach we have introduced a suite of measures to tackle anti-social behaviour and since these have been put in place there has been a significant reduction in incidents in and around the station.”