Dozens of serious violent crimes linked to e-scooter riders

At least 167 serious crimes – including robbery – could be associated with people riding e-scooters in 2021.

Data has shown that of those offences reported to Essex Police – 39 robberies and 91 thefts can be associated with people riding e-scooters.

At least 18 offences described as violence against the person can be associated with e-scooters.

Responding to a Freedom of Information request over linkage between e-scooters and crimes, Essex Police said it cannot differentiate between a motor vehicle or scooter for offences.

However, the force did confirm 167 relevant hits in the first 10 months of 2021 when the phrase ‘e-scooter,’ ‘e scooter,’ ‘electric scooter’ or ‘spin scooter’ was used to search its crime database.

Of the total 167 incidents, 10 resulted in either charges, summonses or a postal requisition – a legal document notifying someone that a decision has been made to prosecute someone at court. Five were for robbery, one for theft, one for violence against the person, two for possession for weapons offences and one for crimes against society.

The figures are small in comparison with the approximate 150,000 offences reported to Essex Police in 2021 but are on the back of a dramatic rise in the numbers of e-scooter sales – even though only those part of the county’s trial can be legally ridden on roads.

Spin rental e-scooter trials in five towns and cities in Essex are being extended for another year to allow for more evidence to be gathered as part of planning for their role in the future of sustainable transport.

On the backdrop of the illegal riders the number of e-scooters seized by Essex Police has risen tenfold in the space of a year.

Essex’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Roger Hirst, said: “My personal view is I don’t think they will be a thing for very long because they are clearly not safe.”

He made the remark as figures show that in 2020 just 38 e-scooters were seized by Essex Police.

However, in 2021 a total of 317 e-scooters were seized.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “Safety will always be our top priority and the trials currently taking place in 31 regions across England are allowing us to better understand the benefits of e-scooters and their impact on public space.

“While feedback from the trials has generally been positive, we know there have been a minority of instances where e-scooters have been misused.

“We’re clear to local authorities and operators taking part in legal trials of rental e-scooters that they should be proactive in dealing with instances of e-scooter misuse.”

Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter