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Oct 14, 2016
But what's the law on nudity in the UK?
It's not an offense to be naked in public in England and Wales but it does become an offense if it can be proved the person stripped off with the intention to upset and shock. The complainant has to prove this.
In Scottish law there is no statutory offense, just the common law offense of offending public decency -- a strand of the breach of the peace. The test is essentially the same as in English law, that a member of the public has been put in a state of fear or alarm.
According to the Crown Prosecution Service "a balance needs to be struck between the naturist's right to freedom of expression and the right of the wider public to be protected from harassment, alarm and distress."
That is an important distinction: in England and Wales, the complainant has to prove that your intent was to "upset and shock", whereas in Scotland the complainant only has to claim your nudity made them feel "fear or alarm," a much easier thing to prove meaning it is much easier for you to be convicted in Scotland.
This brings up where that stepmother in UT ran afoul of the law: she admitted she did it at least partly to teach her husband's kids (minors at that) the lesson that women should have topfreedom. She didn't do it just to be topfree where her husband was (inside their own garage). She did it to have an impact on the children.
Technically you can sunbathe naked on any beach but you may want to stick to good beach etiquette and to designated nudist beaches.
If a police officer or a member of the public asks you to cover up, you should probably do so, or you could be arrested.
Surprisingly, despite our climate, there are a few nudist beaches operating in the UK where you can strip off and not have to worry about those pesky tan lines.
Most of them are on the south coast....
While it only addresses beaches, it sounds like you can sunbathe naked in your own front or back yards.
Of course, "playing" with yourself or allowing someone else to play with you is a separate issue, falling under public sex.
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The following users say thank you to Phantom for this post:mbsf13, Lucerne, chundingdetected, corally
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Jun 24, 2020
D here I have the first-hand experience of being arrested by the police in England for being naked in public. I was given an anti-social behaviour caution which meant that if I came to the attention of the police for any reason within the next 12 months in my case the penalty for being naked in public would become due which was a fine of £100 plus court costs. After I accepted this ASBC a friend said she thought the ASBC had been incorrectly issued and I should see a solicitor. It turns out that the solicitor I see is a practising nudist/naturists.
He says that the ASBC had been incorrectly issued because the police officers who took me to the police station where being both the complainant and the interviewing officers and they failed to inform me that before signing the ASBC I could have it read over by a solicitor and the ASBC would stand so long as I signed it within 24 hours after a solicitor read it. The police said if I did not sign it there and then I would be taken to court and receive a fine of £100 which was not the problem. The problem was that it would become a public record and could be reported in the local press and as a result of that my hubby and employer might find out both would take a dim view and my employer would likely fire me. My solicitor said that they had used undue pressure to get me to sign. My solicitor arranged for an in-camera hearing with a judge. The judge said that the police had not only acted unlawfully in the way they issued the ASBC but there was no wrongdoing on my part in the first place to warrant an ASBC.
The judge explained the law to me in some detail and afterwards my solicitor explain it to me again and actually wrote it down for me.
In England, there is no national law against you being naked in public, but naked means completely without clothing. There is no national law again woman or men being topless or bottomless either.
You can be arrested when you are naked in public but because you have committed another offence while being naked. The three offences are; causing offence, alarm, or distress causing a breach of the peace under public order act. Being a vagrant that is having no means of visible financial support on your person. Last, having indifference to the deprivation of the morals of a minor.
The judge explained that it was for the police in the magistrate's court or the CPS in crown court to prove that you intend to do the offence as well as actually doing it. It is not that the complainant as to prove that you caused them offence, alarm or distress its that you intended to do so. So the complainant may be offended, alarmed or distress but if the prosecution can't prove you did and intended to do so your not guilty. With the morals of the minor one, this is a statutory offence, the prosecution does not need to prove intent but merely that you did and there is an Ip so facto that the morals of a minor would be deprived if they saw a naked stranger. if children see you naked in public that are not related to you you are guilty. Note the judge said that this is in public - not on private land or in a private building or indeed on public land but inside a private structure, such as a tent. Hence nudism/naturism is ok. The vagrancy one is also a statutory offence but on your person means readily available rather than physically on your person so so long as you can show you have money in the bank your not a vagrant. But police have tried to use this to prosecute people being naked in public.
There is an exemption to the intending to cause offence, alarm or distress rule and that is you did intend to cause these and people where offended, alarmed or distressed but you did it to protest about something and you are standing on your right to self-expression. This defence is more likely to succeed if it is an organised protest and being naked to protest is in some way related to the protest, e.g., protesting about the double standard of men being able to go around bare-chested without censure but a woman can't without censure.
However, there are some by-laws which modify these national laws the main one being that you cannot be naked on land owned by the crown, here the crown means the crown estates which are technically the Queen's private land even if she does allow public access but not the commonly held land. Such land includes Royal Parks and beaches from the high watermark to the edge of the sea, and some river banks.
Other by-laws may apply only in a very specific area. For example, in a particular housing estate, in a place of work, etc. Here, by-law does not mean only a law passed by the local council but any regulation that an organisation can lawfully make. If made by a local authority they can result in fines e.g., local parks, the beach from the high watermark to the pavement. If made by a private authority they can only enforce them by the will of the person to pay the fine or by going to civil court and getting a court order of payment. Employers can have a no immoral act clause in your contract and so long as they follow the law regarding dismissing people they can fire you for being naked at work, eg., at the Christmas party or for even being naked in your own back garden if this cause a sensation in the press that they think tarnishes their brand.
The following users say thank you to BabsCorrieDee for this post:chundingdetected, mbsf13
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