Police and public at odds over illegal e-scooters

A stock image of an e-scooter

Police have been criticised for trying to tackle illegal riding of e-scooters in public places - Credit: PA

Action to control the illegal use of e-scooters by young people is not being supported by the public, according to a police chief.

Acting Chief Inspector Martin Richards, Tendring District Commander with Essex Police, told a Tendring council meeting that the level of illegally-ridden scooters by children has concerned the force but parents say officers should focus on other work.

Essex has seen an explosion in the number of e-scooters but only those run at six trial sites in the county - including Clacton and Colchester - by Spin and licensed as part of government trials are legal to be driven on the public highway.

Councillor Delyth Miles (Tendring Independents, Walton) said: “Parents have got to conform to the law and if it’s illegal for the children to drive these scooters then their view doesn’t count.

“If they are encouraging, endorsing and supporting their child to break the law, its time that’s stopped because it putting the rest of the residents in the town at risk and frustration.”

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Acting Ch Insp Richards told councillors said: “I share your frustration but the bottom line is I have to work in the guidance that is proportionate and given to me.

“If we are talking about children on e-scooters then for me we follow the guidance which is we take the scooter and the child home and we have a conversation with the parents.

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“But we police by consent. And the consent of the community is not behind Essex Police on children using e-scooters and I am very frustrated that that is the case.”

In June Essex Police launched an initiative aimed at owners and riders of privately-owned e-scooters used in public areas.

By educating riders and encouraging them not to use privately-owned e-scooters in a public area, Essex Police said it hoped that the number of e-scooters being used illegally, and any perceived antisocial behaviour, will be reduced.

Acting Ch Insp Richards said: “The community is not behind us on this.

“Most of the scooters are being used by youths. I need to get the buy-in from the parents. We are going to the schools, having conversations with schools, we are putting a lot of literature out there."

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