Police, nudity and topless women

At one of the start points of the 2017 London WNBR in Regent’s Park, a small group of bemused police officers approached some nude people seemingly sure they were breaking the law. They were not, better informed people were on hand to explain the law and also to tell them the ride had been approved by police in order to comply with the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 which imposes tight restrictions on peaceful protest in Parliament Square. The attention of the police was also drawn to the Crown Prosecution Service’s document, “Nudity in Public – Guidance on handling cases of Naturism”. Put simply, being nude in a public place is not illegal. Once they realised that, the police visibly relaxed and even seemed to enjoy the prospect of what they saw, peaceful people congregating to ask in a gentle demonstration for a more human centred world, fewer vehicles, better bike lanes, better body acceptance. The ride went off as usual to a tumultuous reception from the public and almost totally ignored by the media.

Just 10 days later on 20th June, eight police officers in full regalia turned up to a group of topless women in Nelson Rockefeller Park in New York to investigate the menace posed by their uncovered nipples. In a strikingly similar manner, the women were able to show the police that they were doing nothing illegal. Years ago, a New York court had ruled that women have the same right as men do to go bare-chested in public places.

In the UK and parts of the USA, the attitude towards nudity has changed but the police have  been slow to catch up. It is only in a police state that officers make the law, in a civilised country, the police are there by consent and to act simply to enforce the law.

In the UK it is not illegal to be nude in public but in an echo of past law, some police seem bent on using public order offences in an attempt to enforce their own view of what the law should be. A long time ago,  “indecent exposure” was illegal but despite many having heard of that phrase, few remember the rest of it, i.e. “with intent to insult a lady” . Courts had to prove intent, notoriously difficult to do, but some crusty old judges took the view that all exposure showed such intent. Parliament has since redrafted the law and such intent is no longer applicable but the idea has stuck in the minds of those whose attitude is stuck in the past.

The WNBR rides have shown how the vast majority of the population react when confronted by nude people riding down the High Street,  they cheer, clap, encourage,  some even join in. A tiny minority do not like it. Good law is not made by tiny minorities; most people are not insulted by others being nude.

It is time the UK and New York police caught up with this, if someone complains that they can see some nude people behaving peacefully, the complainant needs to be told to get on with something more useful instead of wasting police time. One useful thing they could engage in is to find out why their attitude to nudity is so old fashioned and shortsighted

 

About Howard Anderson

A life long naturist. I seek to live in a fair and provably just society, one free from prejudice and hypocrisy.
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1 Response to Police, nudity and topless women

  1. naturalian says:

    Reblogged this on Naturalian's Blog and commented:
    Would you Adam and Eve it in this day and age surely the authorities should know better and they have radios so should communicate to HQ to get the facts!

    Like

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