Met defends e-scooter policing after 'disproportionate' black rider stops

A stock image of an e-scooter

Privately owned e-scooters are illegal to use in public. - Credit: PA

The Met says its e-scooters policing is about road safety after a report suggested black riders are disproportionately stopped by officers.

The charity Possible says data it obtained from freedom of information requests to the Met Police shows black Londoners were more than three times more likely to be stopped for e-scooter offences than white people in 2020.

A Met spokesperson said it is illegal to use privately owned e-scooters on roads, and officers “have a duty to ensure the safety and compliance of all road users and to enforce the law.”

However, there is a legal, trial hire scheme in certain parts of London - the Met says these e-scooters are fully licensed and fit for the road.

But Possible has claimed that of the riders stopped last year, black people are nearly twice as likely to face potential prosecution - and only half as likely to face no further action.

It says the Met stopped at least 151 people on e-scooters in 2020 - 68 were white and 52 were black.

The Met spokesperson said: “If an officer sees a rider on an e-scooter they will ask them to stop and engage with them, explain guidance, enforce traffic legislation around the use of e-scooters and seize e-scooters that are being used illegally on the roads.

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“This enforcement is purely taken in the interest of road safety and ensuring that all road users, including those driving e-scooters, are prevented from coming to harm.

“The Met has so far seized a total of 3,637 privately owned e-scooters this year, and will continue to respond to the large-scale public fear of injury as a result of their use."

TfL data shows that in June this year alone, more than 35,000 trips were made legally on hired e-scooters.

In the same month, the Met seized 1,103 privately owned e-scooters, Possible said.

Possible is calling for e-scooters to be made road-legal without a driving licence being required to ride one, promoting "micromobility" to help cut carbon emissions.

However, the Met spokesperson said private e-scooters have "consistently proven to be dangerous" with "numerous fatalities and a significant number of injuries" this year alone.

They added: “Private devices are not legal for use on the road as they cannot be insured, there is no valid classification on the licence nor would they pass an MOT."

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