Nudity and the Police Case Study
This was/is a long running project to try to address the problem that nudity in a public place is not illegal, but it is often treated as if it is by the Police, Crown Prosecution Service and the Courts.
The issues we faced
After a long period of observing court cases and helping where possible, we undertook a complete survey of all police forces in England & Wales (the law is different in Scotland & Norther Ireland) to try to establish what their policies were regarding nudity in public. We concluded that there was a low level of understanding of the law within constabularies and great inconsistency in treatment.
The action we took
During this process, and partly as a result of it, the Crown Prosecution Service published its “Nudity in Public - Guidance on handling cases of Naturism” . This addressed some of our concerns, but it was still evident that knowledge and understanding of these guidelines within police forces, especially among front line officers, was still woefully lacking. The focus of the project therefore moved to the training of police and education of magistrates. There followed a protracted period of contact with the Association of Chief Police Officers and the College of Policing. The result was that the Police National Decision Making Model was altered to include safeguards and links to the CPS’s Guidelines when any prosecution was being considered; all of which was a direct result of our campaign.
The result was that the Police National Decision Making Model was altered to include safeguards and links to the CPS’s Guidelines when any prosecution was being considered; all of which was a direct result of our campaign.
This was considered as a very positive outcome, though we feel more still needs to be done to educate police and magistrates in this area of Public Order policing. We are therefore continuing to monitor events in order to decide what future action may be needed.
That direct engagement can lead to positive outcomes.