HAMPSHIRE Police officers now have the power to crush e-scooters and off-road motorcycles being used for crime.

‘Operation Crush’ 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.

The new operation is part of the force’s commitment to relentlessly pursue criminals, using all possible tactics available to disrupt their operations and help make our communities safer.

Hampshire Chronicle: The crushed bikes and scootersThe crushed bikes and scooters (Image: Newsquest)

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Despite not being legally allowed to be used in public places, Hampshire Police has seen a steady rise in the popularity of privately owned, powered, two-wheel vehicles (P2WVs) such as e-scooters and off-road electric motorcycles.

This has resulted in officers seeing an increase in them being used by those involved in crime and being used dangerously, potentially putting lives at risk.

Police have therefore taken action to enhance their powers so an e-scooter or e-motorcycle that is being used in crime can be destroyed.

Hampshire Chronicle: Inspector Andy TesterInspector Andy Tester (Image: Newsquest)

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Inspector Andy Tester said: “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 drugs 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.

“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.

“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 believed that this policy change 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.”