Police chief calls on government to step up regulations on private e-scooters in Northamptonshire
"Ridden sensibly they should reduce congestion and make our air cleaner, but we are not seeing that yet," says Nick Adderley
Northamptonshire's Chief Constable is calling on the government to step up regulating private e-scooters
Nick Adderley believes the number of electric scooters being sold is becoming a "real problem" and adding to pressure on police resources.
He said: "Anybody can walk into a shop and but one of these things, and some can travel up to 25mph or 30mph.
"Sadly in London a teenager was killed riding one at the weekend.
"I believe there's much more we have to do with the government to make sure regulations can be tightened on the way these scooters are ridden, where they are ridden and the enforcement of it.
"If they are ridden sensibly then they should reduce congestion and make our air cleaner. But we are not seeing that just yet and we've got a few stages to go through before we can say this is a good thing."
Private e-scooters can be bought freely but are illegal to ride on public roads because it is impossible to get insurance. Anyone caught riding one not on private land is liable to get a £300 fixed penalty notice and six penalty points on their driving licence.
Rented scooters available in several Northamptonshire towns are insured as part of the rental agreement and can be ridden on roads — but riders are still bound by traffic laws.
Police say they will take action against riders on private or rental scooters for offences such as being on a footpath, using a mobile phone, drink-driving and ignoring red lights and road signs.
Trial schemes launched by Swedish company Voi sparked complaints about scooters being ridden in pedestrianised areas and blocking footpaths after being dumped by users.
But Mr Adderley said Voi have helped address many of the issues but problems are still caused those jumping on board.
He added: "Everything we have asked of Voi they have done — increasing signage, improving the registration process, adding registration numbers on scooters.
"They are a responsible organisation and they are doing everything they can do to keep people safe.
"Regardless of that, it puts more pressure on police and we will have to do more focusing on people who are riding irresponsibly."