E-scooters could be jammed by a ‘stinger’ device created by experts at a top secret lab – as Priti Patel orders scientists to find a way to stop criminals who use the machines to shoplift and carry out drug deals

  • Priti Patel asked the Defence and Security Accelerator to remotely jam scooters 
  • New technology will be used solely by police forces to tackle e-scooter crime 
  • Figures show a 50-fold rise in the number of crimes committed using e-scooters 

Priti Patel has ordered the Government’s top military scientists to find ways to stop e-scooters being used by criminals, as the devices are increasingly being used to commit shoplifting, assaults and drug-dealing, and to escape arrest.

The Home Secretary has asked the elite Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) – a body headquartered in the top-secret Porton Down laboratories near Salisbury – to find ways to remotely jam moving e-scooters and bring them to a halt, as well as stopping the stationary devices from being ridden away.

DASA – which is run by the Ministry of Defence – has also been tasked with creating GPS chips for e-scooters so that police can track them down if a criminal is on the run using them, or to recover the contraption after one has been stolen.

The Home Secretary has asked the elite Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) – a body headquartered in the top-secret Porton Down laboratories near Salisbury

The new technology will be used solely by police forces, which have reported an increase in e-scooter-related crimes.

DASA said in a statement: ‘Lawfully used e-scooters have many positive benefits, such as portability and eco-friendliness. 

‘However, when used unlawfully, UK policing faces several challenges when trying to bring these vehicles to a controlled stop, without risk to the rider, public, or police officers.’

Latest figures show a 50-fold rise this year in the number of crimes committed using e-scooters.

Official data shows that 206 crimes involving a suspect riding an e-scooter were recorded in London in the first four months of this year, up from four during the same period last year.

The Metropolitan Police also seized more than 2,000 illegally used e-scooters since the beginning of this year.

Essex Police dealt with 100 crimes involving e-scooters since the start of this year, compared to five for the entirety of last year.

There were also 120 such incidents this year in Norfolk, 100 in Merseyside and 81 in Cleveland.

Latest figures released by the Department of Transport show that e-scooter riders injured 100 road users and pedestrians last year, among whom were 21 cyclists, 22 in vehicles and 57 pedestrians.

Under Government regulations, e-scooters can only be used in public roads and cycles lanes if they are rented from a licensed operator. Pictured, stock photo of a couple riding e-scooters

Among the victims were eight children, the data showed.

A staggering 383 e-scooter riders were themselves injured in accidents last year, with one being killed.

This year, another rider, Shakur Pinnock, 20, died in June six days after he was involved in a crash with a car in Wolverhampton.

In July 2019, YouTube star and TV presenter Emily Hartridge, 35, died after she was struck by a lorry while riding an e-scooter at a roundabout in Battersea, south London.

Under Government regulations, e-scooters can only be used in public roads and cycles lanes if they are rented from a licensed operator.

The devices cannot be ridden on pavements.

Privately bought e-scooters – which can cost up to £1,500 – can only be used on private land, but many are being ridden on public roads illegally.

Officials at DASA said that the jamming technology its experts are looking to invent will be portable, so that police officers can use them from highways to town centres.

Also, the technology can be used to target a specific e-scooter at any time, whilst not affecting others in the immediate surroundings.

DASA has even asked technical experts and scientists from among the public to submit their own proposals.

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