OFFICERS in Hampshire now have the power to start crushing e-scooters and off-road e-motorcycles that are used to commit crimes.

On Monday, February 5, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary launched the campaign at A1 Car Spares in Wokingham.

A bunch of e-scooters and off-road e-motorcycles were crushed as part of a new crackdown on the vehicles being used illegally.

A reporter spoke to Inspector Andy Tester as he watched the action take place. 

@basingstokegazette Officers in Hampshire will now have the power to start crushing e-scooters and off road e-motorcycles used to commit crime, as part of Operation Crush. Inspector Andy Tester tells us more #basingstoke #hampshirepolice #escooter #emotorcycle ♬ original sound - Basingstoke Gazette

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Basingstoke Gazette: Inspector Andy Tester Inspector Andy Tester (Image: Newsquest)

He said: "This is our new approach to dealing with crime, antisocial behaviour and dangerous riding on electric power two-wheeled vehicles."

He said this includes electric motorbikes, modified e-bikes and e-scooters in some cases.

He continued: "We are trying to influence behaviour, we are trying to get people to stop using these vehicles for these sorts of offences by saying as well being prosecuted for any offences we come across along the way, we are also going to seize and destroy the vehicles you do it on.

"So hopefully it will act as a deterrent for people carrying out these kind of offences."

He told the Gazette that crime enabled by such vehicles is on the increase nationally.

It will target those illegally using two-wheeled vehicles to commit further crimes, those persistently involved in anti-social behaviour, and those putting themselves or other road users at risk of injury.

Basingstoke Gazette: The crushed e-scooters and off-road e-motorcycles The crushed e-scooters and off-road e-motorcycles (Image: Newsquest)

Despite not being legally allowed to be used in public places, the forces has seen a steady increase in the popularity of what are known as privately owned, powered, two-wheel vehicles, such as e-scooters and off-road electric motorcycles.

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Unfortunately, this has resulted in officers seeing more and more of them used by those involved in crime and being used dangerously, potentially putting lives at risk.

So, officers have taken action to enhance their powers and have used existing legislation that gives them the option to destroy any e-scooter or e-motorcycle that is being used in crime.

Inspector Tester added: “Given the difficulties there can be stopping these vehicles and identifying the riders, we have noticed them becoming really popular with those committing a variety of different crimes, including those involved in drug gangs.

“While we will always try and engage with people first and educate them about the laws around these vehicles, unfortunately not everyone is willing to listen to us and refuse to heed our warnings.

“So, we realised we needed to deploy tougher tactics for those persistent offenders and looked at how we can use existing legislation to offer more of a deterrence."

He continued: “This means that whenever our officers deal with a crime involving e-scooters and other P2WVs, they will have another option to consider and where proportionate, this could end up with a disposal notice being served and the vehicle being crushed.

“We hope that this action shows our communities that we have listened to their concerns about the rising use of these e-scooters and e-motorcycles being ridden dangerously or being used to carry out crime and anti-social behaviour.

“We believe that this change in policy will help clamp down on those committing numerous offences with these vehicles and act as a significant deterrent.

"We know that the crushing of these vehicles will disrupt criminal activity because they will need to spend more money to buy replacement vehicles. Some of the electric motorcycles used by criminals can cost several thousands of pounds, so this will have a significant impact on their operations. The police only have to be lucky once, they have to be lucky every time to not be caught.”