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Naturism in Public Places

9 Comments 25th October 2014

 s.5 Public Order Act 1986 should be clarified to reduce the scope for abuse. It must be made clear that this offence concerns behaviour which would cause significant offence to most reasonable people and terms such as disorderly should be clarified or removed.

s.4, s.4A Public Order Act 1986 and s.66 Sexual Offences Act should be clarified. Nudity is not in itself evidence of the intent required by these offences.

The common law offence of Outraging Public Decency should be repealed as it duplicates statutory offences (see BN response to Law Commission consultation) and it is inherently vague.

Repeal bye law enabling powers and revoke any associated bye laws, which are unused or vulnerable to abuse.

The ASBO system should be clarified and reduced in scope to prevent abuse.

Abolish all fixed penalties for which a realistic means of appeal can not be provided.

Police cautions should have a cooling off period. There must be a statutory duty for the police to ensure that the accused understands the consequences of accepting a caution.

Provide an accessible means of appeal against police records.

Why does this matter?

 Vague, poorly defined law is vulnerable to abuse by the prejudiced and the protection to those who are harassed or wrongly prosecuted is grossly inadequate.

The only way to distinguish justified restrictions of freedom from prejudice is to show that the balance of harm and benefit is clearly in favour of the restriction. Harm due to a person's own prejudice, “It is causing me harm because I don't like it”, does not provide any justification.

A naturist was tried for Exposure, s.66 Sexual Offences Act, and acquitted. A year or so later, in essentially the same circumstances, he was tried again, and acquitted. He has had to mortgage his house to pay the legal bill. That is not justice.

An example of unused bye law enabling powers are those contained in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (Defra's attitude was that they are not causing a problem so don't do anything). An example of a ridiculous bye law is one that requires swim suits to cover from neck to knees.

Contesting a fixed penalty notice typically costs at least a thousand pounds and can cost over ten thousand. That is not justice.

Far too often people accept a caution without realising the significance and the likely consequences. We know of a case where a vulnerable person accepted a caution despite there being little prospect of conviction and a year later he was added to the sexual offenders register. That is not justice.

Police records can now have a devastating effect on a person's life. They can destroy a career. Obtaining a correction can take years of effort and cost a considerable amount. That is not justice.

These laws are often used to encourage or support the assumption that the body is inherently sexual and the misapprehension that the body is inherently offensive. The attitudes encouraged result in widespread and often serious harm. The correlations are strong and the mechanisms are well understood but there is incredible reluctance to face up to the facts. It is not coincidence that the more prudish countries have such appalling outcomes across a wide range of indicators when compared to the least prudish. Most indicators are at least several times worse and some, for example some sexually transmitted infections, are tens of times worse. Age at first intercourse, promiscuity, use of condom and contraception, teenage pregnancy, teenage abortion, sexually transmitted infections, breast feeding, body dysmorphic disorders, the demand for cosmetic surgery and many others. The pattern is the same. More prudish, worse outcomes.

We suspect that the same pattern repeats for child sexual abuse. If children and photographs of children are treated as if they are inherently sexual then people will come to believe that children are inherently sexual.

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9 Responses to Naturism in Public Places

  1. Bisonex says:

    Bad idea. Deeply stupid and ill conceived. Inappropriate public nudity offends the sensibilities of many people – whether the writer thinks they are right or wrong is immaterial. We are already allowed to be nearly naked in public – a swimsuit covers little more than the sex/excretory organs, so it is not unreasonable to associate total nudity with sex.

    • Western Patriot says:

      Naturism is NOT about sex. It is about freedom, relaxation and fun. Try it; in 5 minutes you’ll wonder why you ever bothered with those expensive, unnecessary bits of cloth called “swimsuits”!

      • Dave says:

        Totally agree. I never could understand the bikini. Why cover up what is natural

  2. Mark DuBock says:

    Led somewhat by the comment question (‘Good idea? Bad idea? Totally insane?) how can questioning whether law is adequate be a ‘bad idea’. If the answer to that question is that the law is adequate then fair enough but why should anybody be concerned about it being questioned (unless they have a particular agenda to serve or have an issue with democracy). I think the reference to covering up ‘sex/excretory organs’ is telling in this particular case. They are simply bodily parts to me. And I suspect some prudes would include breasts as needing to be covered up. Since when was a breast a sex or excretory organ? How repressed? Still I suppose it’s all relative so if we could all be repressed then that state would be relatively liberal. Absolutely bizarre.

  3. Richard says:

    Nudity is not illegal in this country. There is no suggestion that BN wants to make it acceptable everywhere, only in suitable places, which are widely recognised by many of our neighbours on the continent. The aim is to clarify the law to prevent unnecessary legal action and harassment of innocent naturists.

    Very few people are ‘offended’ by nudity, as is demonstrated by events like the London naked bike ride. Many may think it funny but no offensive. We should not allow the few who take offence to dictate what others can do, unless there is demonstrable harm, and in the case of naturism there is no harm.

  4. Mick says:

    Why the hell are people so hung up about nudity, and think, and preach that sex equals nudity, and nudity equals sex. That is complete and utter tosh in my way of thinking. One can actually have sex without removing the clothing at all.
    I belong to a naturist club where I have met some wonderful people and families, who I have a hug and kiss from the ladies, and a handshake from the guys, never thinking of sex at any time. Such a refreshing pastime. these bigots should try it sometime, they would be amazed

  5. Mick says:

    In Germany some office workers in their break will often go into the local park and bare all without a second glance from Joe public, and stretch out on the soft grass.

    Lets have something like that here. Im all for it.

  6. l. Willy Nelson says:

    In Italy, for example, a lady may lay on the beach and take off her top for a sun tan, but not walk on the street in town topless. No harm no foul.

  7. mark says:

    I believe that it is illegal to be naked in a public place in the UK. Technically, if you are exposing your genitalia you are “indecently exposing” yourself. The law states that it is not illegal -but it is!
    Don’t forget that the lawyers and police and in particular politicians are the biggest liars known to the ordinary man. I wouldn’t even listen to them. More fool you if you really believe that it is legal to be naked in public, even on a nudist beach.

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