Police set to continue ‘proactive operations’ against illegal use of e-scooters in Hertfordshire

The issue was raised at a meeting of the county's police and crime panel

Friday, 2nd July 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Friday, 2nd July 2021, 12:32 pm

Police in Hertfordshire are advising that e-scooters can only be used on private land and that they will continue to crackdown on illegal use, after the issue was raised at a meeting of the county’s police and crime panel.

The use of e-scooters – which can reach speeds of up to 50mph while making hardly a sound – are being trialled in some areas of the country.

But aside from trial areas the e-scooters can only legally be used on private land – with the landowner’s permission.

Police

In recent weeks police in Hertfordshire have stepped-in to stop people illegally riding e-scooters in Dacorum, Stevenage and East Herts – in some cases seizing the scooters.

And – after the matter was raised at the latest meeting of the county’s police and crime panel – Hertfordshire Police have told the Local Democracy Reporter Service that their ‘proactive operations’ will continue.

A spokesperson for Hertfordshire Police stressed how ‘dangerous’ e-scooters could be – and that, with e-scooters classed as ‘motor vehicles’, riders can face significant penalties.

She said: “Riders can also be reported for driving offences that could lead to significant penalty points and a fine, which will be sufficient to potentially ban an individual from driving other vehicles – whether they currently hold a current driving licence or not.

“Legalities aside, the riders of these machines are vulnerable if they choose to use them on public roads and the last thing we want to be doing is knocking on someone’s door to tell them their loved one has died in a collision.”

In addition she acknowledged the concerns that have been raised by residents.

And she said: ”The feedback we are hearing from our communities is that many see e-scooters as dangerous, as they can reach speeds of 50mph and because they are electric, they can be very hard to hear.

“We want to reassure residents that we take their concerns seriously and we will continue to carry out proactive operations where operational demand allows.”

The issue was raised at the meeting of the police and crime panel on Thursday, June 24, by Liberal Democrat Cllr Andrew Scarth (Three Rivers).

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service after the meeting, he said he highlighted the issue after hearing from residents.

In one instance he said a motorist had pointed to the dangers, after an e-scooter sped down the pavement as he was exiting his driveway.

And he said it was “crackers” that these illegal vehicles were being used on the footways and highways.

He contrasts them to other motor vehicles – which require a registration plate and insurance, as well as a licence for the motorist.

And he suggests the unidentifiable vehicles could be used by people to commit criminal acts and make a speedy get-away.

He believes legislation needs to be put in place by the government – and until then he has asked what advice is being given to police officers.

“Central government really must deal with this,” he said. “[…] Lets get the legislation in place.”

At the meeting Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd recognised that by some e-scooters were seen as “a brilliant thing” – and by others as “a nuisance”.

He acknowledged there was no specific legislation governing the use of e-scooters.

But he said he hoped he had reassured panel members that it was an issue that was being taken seriously.

And following the meeting he added: “The riding of e-scooters in public is a continuing matter of concern for people across the county.

“As no part of Hertfordshire is included in the government’s current trial, privately owned e-scooters are illegal to use on our public roads, pavements or cycle lanes.

“The Constabulary are taking a proactive approach to the issue and increasing patrols where particular issues have been reported. They are reminding people that those found riding illegally can be fined and points imposed on their licence.

“PCSOs are liaising with schools and colleges, and the police are engaging with those who are riding them.

“While advice is given out, action is also being taken with e-scooters being seized by officers across the county.”