The Metropolitan Police has seized over 1,000 privately-owned e-scooters in the month since trials of rented scooters got underway in the capital. The news came during an at times alarmist House of Lords debate during which the vehicles were at one point characterised as being, “very nippy for criminal activity.”
Baroness Ludford started things off by asking what steps were being taken to tackle the illegal riding of e-scooters.
Baroness Williams, Minister of State for Home Affairs, responded that this was an operational matter for chief officers, according to local police plans.
In January, a senior Metropolitan Police officer suggested that anyone who received an e-scooter as a Christmas gift should return it. We subsequently reported that the force had seized dozens in operations in Brixton and Clapham ahead of the start of rental trials in June.
Baroness Williams revealed that the Met has continued to crack down on privately-owned e-scooters and seized over 1,000 in the last month.
Amid talk of ‘zero tolerance’ and ‘back door legislation’, the most colourful contribution to the debate came from Conservative peer Baroness Neville-Rolfe, Chair of the Built Environment Committee. She claimed that, “the combination of e-scooters and the new electronic bikes, both often ridden dangerously fast along our pavements, is a real threat to the safety of pedestrians,” before adding, “They are also very nippy for criminal activity.”
The comment echoes a somewhat baffling finding from a recent survey that 38% of people are worried e-scooters will cause an increase in crime.
Evidence for that seems slim. It is now a year since a blanket ban was lifted to allow for trials of rented e-scooters covered by a motor vehicle insurance policy. Baroness Williams said that as many as five million kilometres of journeys have taken place since then.