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Statue book must include E-scooter changes, ministers told

The legal limbo of e-scooters needs to end, according to policing and private enforcement leaders.

The lack of enforcement options against e-scooter riders is causing a headache for enforcement teams.

The huge increase in illegal riders has created a legal minefield for both neighbourhood officers and the private enforcement firms who work for landowners with sites regularly accessed by the public.

Private firms are routinely used to protect shopping centres, private car parks and spaces that have a right of way such as footpaths – and many are employed by local authorities.

But the current legal status of e-scooters has caused them a headache.

The vehicles are banned from public roads and pavements but can be used on private land if the landowner has given consent.

But there are plenty of legal minefields – such as a cycle path created by a housing developer between two roads. Preventing anti-social behaviour by riders is challenging.

Stewart Clure, Managing Director of Debt Recovery Plus which works with private enforcement firms, said: “It was always going to be the next big thing. There have been many accidents on private land and they have raised an issue about enforcement. If there’s an incident on private land, who’s liable?”

A series of pilots are currently running in England to assess how the scooters could be made road legal.

But they have proved controversial with a wave of protests from Police and Crime Commissioners, road safety campaigners and disability rights groups.

The vehicles have been linked to street thefts and according to official data they have caused 1,359 casualties and nine deaths.

Fire brigades have revealed the vehicle batteries have been responsible for house fires and transport for London has banned then after an e-scooter caused a fire in a carriage.

The Department for Transport last week quietly announced the local authorities with pilot areas can drop them from November.

Private firms aren’t the only ones question the lack of legal restrictions.

The Police Federation is understood to be looking at what powers officers will need to tackle dangerous behaviour that puts both pedestrians and road users at risk.

Several Police and Crime Commissioners have urged the government to update the statute book.

Leicestershire’s PCC Rupert Matthews said: “I believe that we are lacking action on basic public safety. We must get ahead of the curve. Frontline officers simply do not have the powers to police e-scooters consistently.

“I believe that ministers have prematurely expanded and enabled the ownership and use of rental e-scooters to the detriment of public safety – and I include those riding the scooter.”

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