Naturists condemn Durham police over an arrest post on Facebook


Police have been accused by a group of naturists of putting them in danger after wrongly alleging that public nudity is illegal and they may be harassed

Police have been accused by a group of naturists of putting them in danger after wrongly alleging that wandering around nude was illegal. Three Rivers Outdoor Club, a nudist club located in northeast England, complained about a Durham Police Facebook post after it was reported that a naked man was walking around near Chester-le-Street on Waldridge Fell. On suspicion of breaching public decency, police arrested the man and took him in for questioning. On Facebook, the police posted a summary of the incident. The club, which organizes nude swimming and hiking trips in non-Covid times, said that public nudity was illegal in the Facebook post and offered no explanation for the arrest other than nudity. Police rules state that passive public nudity is not illegal unless abuse, panic or anxiety is intended to be caused. The College of Police states that nudists are only in violation of the law if they “commit sexual offenses or engage in conduct that they intend or know is unbecoming in the eyes or ears of a person who may be harassed, alarmed, or distressed.” However, the minority of people who choose to test the law have sometimes gotten into trouble with the police, especially Stephen Gough, known as the “nude hiker,” A Three Rivers Outdoor Club spokesperson told the Newcastle Chronicle, “Our events are usually a liberating and joyful experience, but one of the hikers was doused with water during a hike last summer, while the assailant told the group not to hike naked in public. “It is unfair for the Durham Police Department to issue false claims that nudity is illegal in public, and it makes it illegal for us to be naked in public. Waldridge Fell, who was later found and arrested on suspicion of breaching public decency, and on Sept. 15, walked naked. Following a psychiatric review, it was concluded that there was no further investigation of the matter in the public interest, and he was eventually released without further action. “There have been several sexual incidents and public order incidents on Waldridge Fell in recent years that have caused concern among residents and council members,” he said. “We often use Facebook as a means to communicate with our residents and inform them of issues relevant to their area. This particular post was uploaded to reassure the local community and show them that we take their concerns seriously.”


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