A senior Metropolitan Police officer has suggested that anyone who received an e-scooter as a Christmas gift should return it. Chief Superintendent Simon Ovens said the vehicles were dangerous to use and, "break all sorts of laws".
A blanket ban on riding e-scooters on UK roads and cycle lanes was partially lifted in July last year to allow for trials of rented scooters, but the use of privately owned ones on public roads remains illegal.
"It's not illegal for retailers to sell them but there's a lack of awareness," Ovens told the BBC. "It's got to be made really clear that they're not to be used in public places and I'm not sure retailers have done that properly."
Met officers have been asked to pull over anyone seen riding an e-scooter in a public place and those caught could face a £300 fine, points on their driving licence or having their scooter seized.
Transport for London (TfL) and London Councils has launched a competition to identify up to three operators for a 12-month trial of hire schemes. One will be Dott, whose scheme will be launched in March.
Ovens said the Met was keen to support such trials in the assumption that those scooters would be, "a bit safer and more compliant."
However, he expressed his belief that privately-owned e-scooters were, “simply not built for our roads.”
"To get on one of these things is plain craziness,” he said. “They have no suspension so you can just hit a dink in the road and come off. While on the pavement they're really threatening to other members of the public."
A spokesperson for e-scooter brand 8Tev responded: "E-scooters are perfect for people to move around safely and securely as long as everyone is educated how to ride them properly, with a helmet and lights so that drivers are aware of them.
"Banning e-scooters – especially when they are legal in most other countries – is not the way forward. The UK should know that taking away freedom usually has the reverse impact.
“Education on how to ride them and ensuring road surfaces and lane management is safe is the only way to go with e-scooters as they are not going away."