Hampshire police crush e-scooters as force issues warning to users of illegal electric vehicles

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Police in Hampshire are cracking down on the illegal use of e-scooters following a surge in their popularity - and have warned users that the vehicles will be destroyed when confiscated.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary officers now have the powers to start crushing e-scooters and off-road e-motorcycles being used to commit crimes, as part of Operation Crush. The launch of this new crackdown will target those illegally using the two-wheeled vehicles to commit further crimes, those persistently involved in anti-social behaviour, and those putting themselves or other road users at risk of injury.

This is all part of the force’s commitment to "relentlessly pursue criminals, using all possible tactics available to disrupt their operations and help make our communities safer."

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Despite not being legally allowed to be used in public places, police have seen a steady increase in the popularity of what are known as privately owned, powered, two-wheel vehicles (P2WVs), such as e-scooters and off-road electric motorcycles. This has resulted in officers seeing more and more of them used by those involved in crime and being used dangerously, potentially putting lives at risk. Officers have taken action to enhance their powers and have used existing legislation that gives them the option to destroy any e-scooter or e-motorcycle that is being used in crime.

Inspector Andy Tester said: “Given the difficulties there can be stopping these vehicles and identifying the riders, we have noticed them becoming really popular with those committing a variety of different crimes, including those involved in drugs gangs. While we will always try and engage with people first and educate them about the laws around these vehicles, unfortunately not everyone is willing to listen to us and refuse to heed our warnings. So, we realised we needed to deploy tougher tactics for those persistent offenders and looked at how we can use existing legislation to offer more of a deterrence.

The force is cracking down on the illegal use of e-scooters and other unauthorised modes of transport.The force is cracking down on the illegal use of e-scooters and other unauthorised modes of transport.
The force is cracking down on the illegal use of e-scooters and other unauthorised modes of transport. | Hampshire police

“This means that whenever our officers deal with a crime involving e-scooters and other P2WVs, they will have another option to consider and where proportionate, this could end up with a disposal notice being served and the vehicle being crushed. We hope that this action shows our communities that we have listened to their concerns about the rising use of these e-scooters and e-motorcycles being ridden dangerously or being used to carry out crime and anti-social behaviour. We believed that this change in policy will help clamp down on those committing numerous offences with these vehicles and act as a significant deterrent.

"We know that the crushing of these vehicles will disrupt criminal activity because they will need to spend more money to buy replacement vehicles. Some of the electric motorcycles used by criminals can cost several thousands of pounds, so this will have a significant impact on their operations. The police only have to be lucky once, they have to be lucky every time to not be caught.”