E-Scooter Update

Message from Sean Humphrey, Kent Police…

Good morning,

I have come in this morning to a message from a member of public asking why police officers do not stop and challenge E scooters? The enquiry comes from a member of public who lives in Gillingham and says that they regularly see E scooters on the roads and paths and police simply ignore them.

Firstly, I will explain the legal standpoint. E scooters are classed as mechanically propelled vehicles and so they are governed under the same laws as cars and motorbikes. No exemptions.

Riders need,

  • A licence – (can be a provisional with L plates on your scooter.) so you need to be at least 16 years old.
  • Insurance is required – (but not possible to insure on the roads at the moment.)
  • Tax – E-scooters do not need to be registered, display registration plates or pay vehicle excise duty.
  • Technically everyone riding an e scooter should be stopped and the scooter seized for having no insurance and crushed.
  • E scooters can be ridden on private land with land owners permission.

Retailers of E scooters are required to explain the law when E-scooters are being sold and customers are supposed to sign paperwork to acknowledge this.

Kent police have been into schools, before Christmas, and really pushed for parents not to buy their children E scooters for the last 3 years.

I can only speak for Medway, and this is my opinion and does not reflect Kent police official policy, but the reality of the situation is that, at this current time, Kent police do not have enough police officers to stop and seize all E scooters on the roads or paths. Each E scooter seizure would require approximately an hour of a police officers time to complete the correct paperwork and deliver the E scooter to the appropriate holding facility. Children with no licence would be subject to penalty points and an unlimited fine and get a criminal record. With the demand on the police an E scooter response on this scale is, in my opinion, is unmanageable. That’s not to say that operations won’t be run in the future specifically targeting E scooters with any rider. If you do ride an E scooter do not be surprised if you are stopped and it is taken in the near future.

What tends to happen is that we will target/ Prioritize E scooters that are driven or ridden in a dangerous or antisocial manner and use the appropriate legislation to get the E scooters destroyed. The riders that pose a risk to the public are dealt with swiftly and robustly.

Policing should always be proportional to the crime.

If the public want a more robust e scooter approach, then reports of E scooters need to increase and it would be beneficial to speak to local councillors. Legislation in UK parliament needs to be updated to manage the E scooter issue more effectively.