'Nuisance' escooters and police numbers put under the spotlight in Facebook Live broadcast by Hampshire crime commissioner Donna Jones and chief constable Olivia Pinkney

HOT topics including ‘nuisance’ escooters and police numbers were put under the spotlight in a Facebook Live broadcast.

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 9:11 pm

Hampshire police and crime commissioner Donna Jones was joined by the county’s chief constable Olivia Pinkney as the public scrutinised them.

In the commissioner’s oversight broadcast, titled Cops, concerns over a lack of police on the streets were addressed.

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Hampshire police and crime commissioner Donna Jones met with recruits on May 20, 2021. Picture: OPCC

The force’s Uplift Programme will see 600 new recruits by 2023 - serving to boost public confidence.

Mrs Pinkney said: ‘We’re on track. All credit to our recruiters who haven’t missed a step throughout the Covid pandemic.

‘We’re 18 months into a three-year program and people are being brought in thick and fast. We brought in 156 in year one and are now on 146 this year.

‘All are united in wanting to do a good service. It’s great to have them.

New Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire Donna Jones (left) during a walkabout with Hampshire Police Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney in Winchester, Hampshire. Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

‘Many are still in training. It takes a year before they can do independent patrols but we are starting to see the first bunch now becoming fully fledged officers..’

Ms Jones added: ‘(With the) reduction in police funding there is a consequence for that. Hopefully the Uplift Program and the extra 20,000 extra officers (nationwide) is just the start and we will now be able to redress the balance there.’

Concerns were raised over e-scooters with frustrations over anti-social behaviour and riding illegally.

Portsmouth is currently undergoing a city council trial scheme that launched in March after technology firm Voi won the contract.

Responding to issues with both private escooters and those rented, Ms Jones said she will write to councils asking them to follow the example of Liverpool City Council which is now banning riders and dishing out fixed penalties to offenders.

Ms Jones said: ‘They have issued over 2,000 fines and are banning people for six months.

‘We need to make sure there is an education program. They are not going away. Maybe public broadcasting could be used so people understand that driving an escooter is like driving a motorbike or a moped (in terms of the law). It’s not like being on a push bike.

‘It does go at pace and much faster than cyclists go so we need to be mindful of the dangers there.’

Mrs Pinkney added: ‘While the law is being worked through we have the Road Traffic Act which applies in certain circumstances.

‘We are aware of real nuisance around some but a lot of people bought theirs in good faith. Escooter rules are the same as driving a car.

‘So our first approach is to educate and explain to people. Most people we stop don’t know (the rules). Most change their behaviour. Those who don't stop we move to enforcement.

‘We make a note of who they are and if they do it again we can seize their scooter.

‘It is anti-social behaviour and we can put more policing there to change it. We are in an interim period until the law is firmed up.’

Other issues discussed included the force’s determination to tackle domestic violence, rural crime and county lines - with a successes achieved across the county that have been preemptive and do not come to public attention.

Ms Jones also insisted it was part of her role to explain the value of her elected position to those sceptical. The commissioner said she agrees budgets with Mrs Pinkney and decides priorities.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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