Essex public does not back e-scooter crackdown, council told

An e-scooter rider on the pavement is asked to stop by a police officer to stop during an operation

It is illegal to ride a privately owned e-scooter on a public highway - Credit: PA Images

The public does not back Essex Police's struggle to keep illegally ridden e-scooters off the streets, a police chief has said.

Acting Chief Inspector Martin Richards told a district council committee that the level of scooters ridden illegally by children has concerned the force, but parents say officers should focus on other work.

The county has seen a dramatic rise in e-scooter use, but only those run by Spin in Chelmsford and five more Essex towns as part of a government trial are legal on public roads.

At Tendring District Council's community leadership overview and scrutiny committee, Acting Ch Insp Richards said: "The bottom line is that I have to work in the guidance that is proportionate and given to me.

"If we are talking about children on e-scooters, then for me, we follow the guidance which is we take the scooter and child home, and we have a conversation with the parents.

"But we police by consent. And the consent of the community is not behind Essex Police on children using e-scooters.

"I am very frustrated that is the case."

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In June, Essex Police launched an initiative aimed at owners and riders of privately-owned e-scooters in public areas.

The force said it hoped that the number of e-scooters being used illegally would reduce.

But Acting Ch Insp Richards said: "The community is not behind us on this.

"I am not saying the people in this room are not behind us - I have heard the town centre are really concerned.

"I share your concerns but the bottom line is I need to get the parents."

He added: "We are pleading with parents on our Facebook and social media, and the backlash we are getting is 'go and do something more'."

Tendring councillor Delyth Miles said: "Parents have got to conform with the law and if it's illegal for the children to drive these scooters, then their view doesn't count.

"If they are encouraging, endorsing and supporting their child to break the law, it's time that is stopped."