A North East naturist club has claimed that a facebook post by Durham Police has increased the risk of naturists being assaulted or harassed. In September, a Durham Police facebook account reported that a man had been arrested following several reports of seeing a man walking naked in the countryside. The post did not mention any reason for the arrest other than the nudity. Despite the common belief to the contrary, the latest national police guidance confirms that passive public nudity is not in itself illegal unless there is an intention to cause harassment, alarm or distress.
North East-based Three Rivers Outdoor Club organises various naturist activities including countryside rambles and river dips. A spokesperson stated:
“Our events are a usually a liberating and joyful experience, but during one walk last summer, one of the ramblers was assaulted by having water thrown over them, whilst the assailant told the group that they shouldn’t be walking naked In public. It is discriminatory for Durham Police to post misleading reports that suggest that public nudity is illegal, and it puts us at greater risk of assault or harassment in future”.
Durham Police have refused to correct the misleading post, and the Professional Standards department has refused to register a complaint about the post being discriminatory, claiming that anything that a Police Officer writes using a police social media account cannot be the subject of a complaint.