E-scooters being used by criminals to commit a number of different crimes say Metropolitan Police

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The emergence of e-scooters around the capital has seen a number of criminals turn to the two-wheeled mode of transport as a way of committing crimes ranging from robbery, assault and theft, the Metropolitan Police have revealed.

Since July, the Met has received reports of over 290 crimes involving suspected criminals using e-scooters to commit and escape a crime scene.

Chief Superintendent Simon Ovens, from the Met’s Road and Transport Policing Command, has reminded the public that privately owned e-scooters remain illegal on roads and in public places.

Chief Superintendent Ovens said: “I believe that some people are using e-scooters as an attractive mode of transport, especially in their commute to work, but they remain notoriously dangerous, and illegal when driven in public areas or on the roads. Under the Road Traffic Act 1988, it is the equivalent of riding a motorcycle on the road without any MOT, tax or insurance.

“Whilst we have seized e-scooters which can operate up to 40 mph, there are some which can reach 70 mph. There is no test required to be able to ride one which means people often do not have an understanding of the road awareness; they do not wear a helmet or have lights on them so riding one means they are putting themselves and others at risk, especially at this time of year with the early evenings.”

Due to their illegal use, collisions on e-scooters are underreported. In 2018 there were four reported collisions and in 2019 that rose to 32, the force has confirmed.

Chief Superintendent Ovens continued: “My priority is to keep people safe on our roads and make sure people are aware of the rules and look out for their own, and others, safety.

“In the lead up to Christmas, we want to remind people that if you are buying one, under current legislation, you can only ride it on private land with the land owner’s permission.

“If you are out on an e-scooter in London, expect to be stopped by officers as we continue to help keep Londoners safe.”

Offences committed can include, but are not exclusive to, operating a vehicle without insurance, contravening a cycle lane, or riding them on the pavement. Officers can issue e-scooter riders with a Traffic Offence Report (TOR), where appropriate.

The consequences of this can be up to a £300 fine and six points on your driving licence.

Operation Hornet, the Met’s safety operation around e-scooters, has now been running for over a year. This allows officers to give one-time warnings to those who are stopped after explaining the legislation to them. To date officers have seized 268 e-scooters and given 604 warnings.

Due to the speeds they can go, and because they are silent and unregistered, they are now being used to commit crime.

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said: “Public safety remains our utmost priority and this Road Safety Week (RSW) is a reminder to every one of the dangers of riding an e-scooter illegally both to the individual and those on the road or pavements in London.”