Police and Pubic Nudity
A campaign to persuade the College of Policing to include training in how to handle public nudity properly.
A campaign to persuade the College of Policing to include training in how to handle public nudity properly.
The Public Nudity Advice and Decision-making Aid from the College of Policing has come some years after the CPS published its own guidance: Nudity in Public, guidance on handling cases of naturism, even so NAG’s Treasurer Duncan Heenan said: ‘It is a welcome addition and should greatly help with educating frontline police officers.’
In the briefing note, officers are told that naturism is ‘a philosophical belief’ and ‘naturists have a right to freedom of expression, which only engages [the] criminal law if they commit sexual offences or use disorderly behaviour’ and they ‘should consider every situation according to its own circumstances’.
While it explained the wide
Today, we are publishing our Annual Report for 2018 covering the period 1stMarch 2017 to 28thFebruary 2018.
Financially, NAG ended the fiscal year with a small deficit, largely as a consequence of spending more than £1,000 on campaigning. The bank balance itself is still good; even so, your donations would be more than welcome and gratefully received.
For the last eight years, Naturist Action Group has operated as a national strategic advocacy group for UK naturism. The Management Collective feel that it’s time to re-energise the group and realise that we are not the only source for good ideas. If after reading our Annual Report, ideas come flooding into your head, don’t keep them to yourself, tell us. No idea is off limits or to be thought of as ‘silly’. You can use the comments below, or if pen and paper is your thing, send it to our postal address given at the back of the report, marking the envelope for the Chairman’s attention, or send it by email to reg.barlow AT naturistactiongroup DOT org.
10 May 2018
We have the pleasure of publishing our Annual Report for 2017. As always, we would welcome your comments about anything we are doing, or not doing or how we can do things better. If you prefer to either email me direct or any of my colleagues then you do so through the contacts page. Alternative, if your prefer to put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, please send your missive to our registered address marked for the attention of the person you wish to address your question or questions, with a self-addressed, stamped envelope.
An Important (to naturism) victory happened in a Kent magistrates court yesterday. A newspaper report can be found at: https://www.kentonline.co.uk/malling/news/naked-carpenter-cleared-120208/ and is reproduced below. Though we await fuller details, there are some interesting features of this case, apart from the overall common sense approach of the magistrates:
This evening at Maidstone Magistrates’ Court after almost two hours of deliberation magistrates returned not guilty verdicts, concluding his freedom of expression outweighed any alarm caused.
The bench had heard from four witnesses whose reactions to Mr Jenner’s actions ranged from awkwardness to anger.
Frederick Black said he was so disgusted when he saw him bent over mixing cement he dialled 999 while Lisa Jarrett saw him on several occasions and said it made her feel “not very nice.”
Michael Smith was so angry when he spotted Mr Jenner leaning on a rake he marched up to his door and demanded he get out of the house.
Paul Edwards, prosecuting, said Mr Jenner was an exhibitionist and not a naturist and he must have known the consequences of his actions as he had erected a sign asking people not to be offended.
But Alex Davey, defending, said he had never intended to cause harassment, alarm or distress and was simply exercising his right to be naked.
Giving evidence this afternoon Mr Jenner was resolute in his belief he had done nothing wrong, telling magistrates he was fighting for tolerance.
He said naturism gave him “a sense of freedom and liberty,” adding: “There’s no
If you’re at work, you almost certainly missed this but the new head of the National Police Chiefs’ Council told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire that the public should not expect to see an officer after their home gets burgled.
The interview with Sara Thornton, who took up her new post as the head on the NCCP in April when it took over from ACPO, has been widely reported, including The Times, but as that paper has a pay wall I’ve included a link as to how the BBC itself reported the interview.
Essentially, with budget cuts and fewer officers, the police have to prioritise with sexual offences, concerns over terrorism and cyber crime being given a higher priority than car crime or burglary.
In response to The Times article, colleague Duncan Heenan dashed off a letter the same day:
If Sara Thornton (Times 29/7/15) does not want the police to waste their time responding to unimportant matters, she needs to start by pointing them at the CPS Guideline on handling incidents involving Naturism, which points out that, unless some criminal act is involved, non-sexual nudity in public is not illegal. This message has still not been understood by most front line officers, who will rush around at the mention of a peacefully naked person as if a murder was in progress.
Campaign update – 21st November 2014
This is a brief update on the campaign that NAG and BN have been running jointly for about 4 years, which started with concern over the way the police and Courts viewed nudity as if it were unquestionably illegal, which it rarely is. This lead to our receiving reports, attending Court, assisting the accused and tracking the outcomes. As we were preparing our submission to The Authorities, the project was changed by the Crown Prosecution Service’s publication of its ‘Guidance on handling cases of Naturism’. The CPS guidance was prompted, at least in part, by the letters from NAG, BN and individuals. Though not perfect, this sought to address many of our concerns. It was therefore decided to alter the focus of our efforts on to trying to ensure that the front line police officers understood the CPS’s guidance. A survey of every Police Authority, and every Police & Crime Commissioner in England & Wales followed. Special thanks to Brian Johnson for his help with this. The survey was poorly responded to, despite follow-ups, but it disclosed that most Authorities had no plans for training in this area, and the few that did were unconvincing and inconsistent. So we sought to find out who could influence this, in order that we could have a dialogue with them. It emerged that police national training standards and syllabus is set by The College of Policing.
This whole process was long drawn out and frustrating and in part this was due to the police itself undergoing a significant reorganisation during this time. The former National Police Improvement Agency was being run down and replaced by The College of Policing (CoP), but the manning up of the CoP took time, and for a considerable time we simply could not find the right people to talk to. However a couple of months ago, a senior official at the CoP agreed to meet us to hear what we had to say. Malcolm Boura met him (as I was unavailable to join them), and had a very useful and cooperative conversation. However, circumstances limited actual progress at that time, as he was about to move on within the organisation, and responsibility for Public Order Policing was about to change again. However, he undertook to pass the matter on properly to his successor, which he did, resulting in a meeting between Malcolm, me and the new portfolio holder on November 14th.
We were very encouraged by the reception our concerns received and by the high degree of understanding we were met with. It is not appropriate to go in to details at this stage, as this could be counter-productive, but we came away with a mutually agreed strategy to carry our dialogue forward in a
For over 2 years NAG has been leading a joint project with BN to address the issue of how the police and Courts deal with naturism. As part of this, we have produced the following report of our survey on the adoption of the new CPS guidelines. This report has now been sent to the Association of Chief Police Officers, The Association of Police & Crime Commissioners, The College of Policing, and the Director of Public Prosecutions (head of the CPS). We have asked for a meeting to discuss our findings. This project will continue by cooperative consultation, and when there are any significant developments they will be reported here.
Apologies for any loss of formatting of the report in posting it here
Joint report on the study of the uptake of Crown Prosecution Service Guidance ‘Nudity in Public –
Guidance on handling cases of Naturism ’[September 2013], by Police Authorities in England & Wales.
Background & Reason for the study
There has been increasing concern within the naturist community in recent years, at the attention naturism has occasionally attracted by the police. Though there have been many instances of police reacting proportionately and appropriately to reports of nudity in public places, there have also been incidents, sometimes resulting in prosecutions. As a result we began to gather data on these incidents with a view to approaching the Authorities to seek a fairer and more consistent application of the Law to naturism than we felt had been happening. Personal views of police and judges seemed to be driving events too much, often with little reference to any actual harm done (of which there was none in any incident studied). There seemed to be an informal institutional prudery in police and courts alike, which led to a disproportionate reaction to any incident involving nudity in public, or even some private, places. This caused great distress to those who were subject to heavy handed policing, wasted public resources, and did not serve the public interest. Of those cases taken to Court, the majority resulted in acquittals.
In September 2013, as our study period was approaching its conclusion and a submission to the Authorities, the Crown Prosecution Service published ‘Nudity in Public – Guidance on handling cases of Naturism.’ (Shown in Appendix 1) Effectively this acknowledged that the CPS shared some of our concerns, particularly in the use of Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 by police, to try to criminalise non-aggressive, non-sexual nudity. The CPS guidance addressed some (though not all) of our concerns, but it contained no mechanism within it to ensure that its guidance filtered down to police officers who have to make initial operational decisions. We therefore decided to contact every Police Authority in England & Wales to draw their attention to the CPS Guidance, express our views and ask them what plans they had to train their police officers in it. This report summarised the results of that exercise.
On 20th November 2013, letters (shown at appendix 2) were sent to all 42 Police forces, plus the Association of Chief Police Officers (‘ACPO’) and the College of Policing. The same letter was also sent to all 42 Police & Crime Commissioners, plus the Association of Police & Crime Commissioners (‘APCCs’). Responses were received by letter, email and telephone over the succeeding 12 weeks. The responses are summarised and tabulated below. A number of acknowledgements were received but never followed up with a response, and a number of Police Forces and PCCs did not respond at all (as marked).
The results are summarised in the table below. Copies of all responses and other correspondence are available to authorised users on https://www.bn.org.uk/campaigning/wiki.php/_/policing/general-policy-and-training-r35 .
Of the 42 PCCs contacted 4 acknowledged receipt, but did not reply. In addition 25 did not respond at all, making a total of 29 who did not reply.
Of the 13 PCCs who replied, all considered the CPS’s Guidance on Nudity in Public, and any police responses, to be an operational police matter, and made no meaningful comment beyond that. The Association of PCC’s made the same remark, commenting also that national guidance on police training is the responsibility of the College of Policing, suggesting we contact them (which we already had). Only the PCC for West Yorkshire commented on the uptake of the CPS Guidelines within that police service, saying that it was to be incorporated within their training programme and published internally. West Yorkshire Police themselves did not respond.
Of the 42 Police Forces contacted, 6 acknowledged receipt, but did not reply. In addition 16 did not respond at all, making a total of 22 who did not reply (though this number includes West Yorkshire for whom their PCC made a reply).
Of the 20 Police Forces which replied 19 had no stated policy on dealing with incidents of public nudity, other than trusting the local officer to exercise jusgment of the actual situation. One (Cheshire) has a policy which is consistent with the new CPS Guidelines.
The replies from some police forces were phrased in very general terms, and therefore it was not always clear what was meant. In categorising the replies below, an element of judgment had to be used, as there was overlap of intent as well as uncertainty in some cases.
Of the 20 forces which responded (21 including W. Yorkshire whose PCC responded for them), 5 forces had no plans to include any specific training for front line officers to do with the CPS Guidelines. 8 were planning to publish the guidelines on websites or internal bulletin boards, but with no further training. 4 forces were intending to approach the issue by briefing specialist officers such as Diversity Officers or Custody Sergeants as internal ‘consultants’ to provide advice to operational officers involved in issues to do with public nudity. 4 Forces had undertaken, or were considering including specific training to all officers. 5 of the responses included comments suggesting a presumption that public nudity was likely to be a public order issue. 3 forces commented that public nudity incidents were not considered a current or past issue in their area, as there were few, if any, such incidents.
The College of Policing and ACPO did not respond at all.
Police & Crime Commissioners Survey, summary of responses
Policy on Nudity
Training re. CPS guidance
|Avon & SomersetIndependent||No response||No response|
|BedfordshireLabour||6/12/13||Police Operational Matter||Police Operational Matter|
|CambridgeshireConservative||5/12/13||Police operational matter||Police operational matter|
|CheshireConservative||25/11/13||Police operational matter||Police operational matter|
|City of LondonConservative||No response||No response|
|ClevelandLabour||No response||No response|
|DerbyshireLabour||No response||No response|
|Devon and CornwallConservative||5/12/13||Police Operational Matter||Police Operational Matter|
|DorsetIndependent||4/12/13||Police Operational Matter||Police Operational Matter|
|DurhamLabour||5/12/13||Police Operational Matter||Police Operational Matter|
|Dyfed PowysConservative||No response||No response|
|EssexConservative||27/11/13||No response||No response|
|GloucestershireIndependent||No response||No response|
|Greater ManchesterLabour||No response||No response|
|GwentIndependent||No response||No response|
|Hampshire &IOWIndependent||No response||No response|
|HertfordshireConservative||No response||No response|
|HumbersideConservative||No response||No response|
|KentIndependent||16/12/13||No comment||No comment|
|LancashireLabour||2/12/13||No response||No response|
|LeicestershireConservative||No response||No response|
|LincolnshireIndependent||19/12/13||Police Operational Matter||Police Operational Matter|
|MerseysideLabour||No response||No response|
|MetropolitanConservative||10/12/13||Police Operational Matter||Police Operational Matter|
|NorfolkIndependent||No response||No response|
|NorthamptonConservative||No response||No response|
|NorthumbriaLabour||12/12/13||Police Operational Matter||Police Operational Matter|
|North YorkshireConservative||No response||No response|
|North WalesIndependent||No response||No response|
|NottinghamshireLabour||No response||No response|
|South WalesLabour||No response||No response|
|South YorkshireLabour||No response||No response|
|StaffordshireConservative||25/11/13||No response||No response|
|SuffolkConservative||No response||No response|
|SurreyIndependent||No response||No response|
|SussexConservative||12/12/13||Police operational matter||Police operational matter|
|Thames ValleyConservative||No response||No response|
|WarwickshireIndependent||9/12/13||No response||No response|
|West MerciaIndependent||No response||No response|
|West MidlandsLabour||27/11/13||31/1/13||Police operational matter||Police operational matter.|
|West YorkshireLabour||27/11/13||17/1/14||Police operational matter||W.Yorks police are developing a training programme which will incorporate CPS guidelines. Also published internally.|
|WiltshireConservative||No response||No response|
|Association of P.C.C.s||26/11/13||Police operational matter||College of Policing sets national training standards. Decision should lie with them.|
Police Authority Chief
For the last 3 years NAG has been running a project to monitor the fate of naturists who come in to conflict with The Law, help where we can, and prepare an approach to The Authorities. We met with BN earlier in the year, and as they were charting a similar course we agreed to cooperate fully together in a joint project. The response was altered when the Crown Prosecution Service unexpectedly issues a guideline on the issue just as we were drafting our submission. This altered our approach, but does not remove any of its importance or urgency.
As a result we have just written to every Chief