Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner ‘not turning a blind eye’ to e-scooters

Tuesday, 29 March 2022 13:15

By Karen Dunn - Local Democracy Reporter

The Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner has denied that a ‘blind eye’ is being turned when it comes to the illegal use of e-scooters.

Katy Bourne spoke during a meeting of the police and crime panel on Friday (March 25) following a question from Littlehampton councillor James Walsh. Dr Walsh said: “My observation – and the emails that I get – is that the use of them is increasing, the danger to the public is increasing and yet there seems to be almost an official blind eye being turned to it in that it’s very, very rare for anyone to be stopped, cautioned or prosecuted.”

While the sale of e-scooters is not illegal, the use of them on public roads and pavements is illegal, unless they are part of a government-backed rental trial scheme. No such scheme exists in Sussex.

Mrs Bourne said officers were ‘definitely not turning a blind eye’ to the situation. She added: “They’re illegal. We don’t have any pilot sites in Sussex or Surrey and therefore anybody that’s riding them [in a] public space isn’t meant to be.” She told the meeting that 90 scooters were seized during a three-week campaign covering areas such as Crawley and Brighton & Hove last month. The numbers seized across the county have risen sharply over the last couple of years. In 2020 it was 19, in 2021 it was 98 and, as of March 16, 126 had been seized in 2022.

Mrs Bourne said: “I think the message is getting out to the public that they are legal if you ride them on private land [but] illegal anywhere else.
“My plea to the public is if you see them do report it.” Acknowledging that the scooters were ‘a menace’, she added: “The legislation is very clear – unfortunately, the public guidance is not so clear. “The message out there to people is don’t buy them. They’re not for riding in public spaces.”

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