Police say there are so many e-scooters are used illegally in Cambridge they cannot hope to deal with them all
Police have said there are so many e-scooters being used illegally in Cambridge that if they were to confiscate them all, they would “never be able to deal with anything else”.
The force gave an update to councillors on how it is tackling illegal or anti-social use of e-scooters at Cambridge City Council’s east area committee last Thursday (June 23).
It is illegal to use a privately owned e-scooter in a public place such as a public road or pavement.
Voi e-scooters can be hired as part of a trial, but users must be aged 18 or older and required a provisional driver’s licence to register for them.
Sgt Brad Munday said the force was working with Voi to help tackle anti-social use.
Officers have access to a Voi app to report users of Voi scooters for offences, such as riding with two people on board, or riding on pavements.
By providing Voi with the scooter ID number, time and location of the incident, the company can review the case and suspend or ban the user.
On tackling the use of private e-scooters, Sgt Munday said the force has been taking an “education over enforcement approach”, warning there was a “significant amount of misinformation” about the legality of them, meaning many people do not realise they are illegal to use on public roads.
Cllr Richard Robertson suggested it should be “relatively easy to do something about them”.
Sgt Munday responded: “When there is such a volume of these e-scooters being used, what we have to focus on is when people are using them dangerously first, and then we have to focus on getting the message out.
“I am told there are pushes for legislation to be changed to make them legal. This all creates massive grey areas. The practicality of policing them is difficult.
“If we are seeing them being used dangerously, we are dealing with it, but if we dealt with every single one we saw we would never attend an incident, we would never be able to deal with anything else.
“We have to be selective about how we are dealing with them. We have to be pragmatic about it and that does at times mean using discretion.
“I’m hoping as legislation is pushed and changed, either they will be made legal and we can start enforcing specific offences against them, or it just becomes a case of they are out right banned.
“The problem is they are so readily available that even if road traffic law becomes such that they are fully banned, they are still going to be purchased, they are still going to be available.
“They are here - we just have to manage them as and when we can.”
Cllr Robertson also raised concerns over the use of ‘pedal mopeds’ - electric mopeds or bikes with pedals.
He said they are often used by delivery drivers and asked if the police had considered contacting employers.
Sgt Munday, said that the sit down electric ‘pedal bike style’ ones are “specifically designed” to be a grey area.
He said the manufacturers who make them are “playing a game”.
Sgt Munday explained that at the moment officers are only able to deal with them in the “manner in which they are used”, for example if they are being used dangerously.