An operation to tackle the illegal use of electronic scooters in Cambridgeshire over the past year has been a success.
Operation Scoot was introduced to tackle the illegal use of electronic scooters on public highways, anti-social behavior (ASB) related to e-scooters, and their theft.
The operation was launched after a spike in calls for service to the police from members of the public, with an aim to reduce the number of incidents and overall ASB being committed, and a strong focus on educating members of the public, parents and retailers on legal issues.
The scooters have increased in popularity in recent years but are still only legal to ride on private land with the landowner’s permission, or as part of a government trial.
With government-led trials of rented e-scooters taking place around the country there was a rise in people purchasing scooters in the mistaken belief they can legally use them on public paths and roads.
E-scooters fall within the legal definition of a “motor vehicle”, therefore laws that apply to motor vehicles also apply to e-scooters, such as requiring the rider to have insurance and a valid driving license.
Comparing January to March 2021, with January to March this year, the total number of crimes involving e-scooters was down 31 percent, from 55 to 38.
In the same period, thefts of e-scooters decreased by 69 percent, from 39 to 12, robbery of e-scooters dropped by 86 percent from 15 to two and the use of an e-scooter to facilitate a crime fell by 51 percent from 35 to 17.
PC Janine Hagger, who led the research, said: “This operation focused on education rather than enforcement. We found many law-abiding citizens did not know the law around using e-scooters, therefore we made it our objective to educate those people on what they can and can’t do, before enforcing the law and seizing the scooters.
“This meant working with parents to ensure they understood the requirements for owning and using an e-scooter after we found children to be using them, therefore not holding a driving license. We also engaged with retailers selling e-scooters to ensure they were explaining the legal background behind them.”
Officers will continue to undertake educational work within schools and retail outlets and will only consider enforcement action if it is proportionate and there is risk to public safety.
For more information on using publicly owned e-scooters please read the Government legislation.