Many police operations create
unnecessary bad feeling
August 2005 - Police and NT wardens having just disturbed
half a dozen traditional nudists
SUN has no objection to police patrolling the
beach and readily acknowledge that many beach users find a visible police presence reassuring
but over the years we have witnessed many police operations that have
left nudists feeling mistreated and abused.
By the end of 2004 police/nudist relations had hit yet another 'all time low' with many angry nudists accusing the police of being
unfair and aggressive. Verbal abuse was rife and threats from beach users wanting to take
action against the police and the National Trust rose. This situation,
replicated in 2005, is unsatisfactory.
High visibility policing
The high point on the front ridge where
police often take up position
Mixed messages damage police/nudist relations
Mixed messages are given by the police to nudists. This
occurs when some officers leave nudists to relax, informing them in a
friendly and courteous manner they will not to be involved in any way in
enforcing NT management decisions and other officers tell nudists to dress
or move and sometimes misquote the law or threaten arrest.
Complaints about mixed messages may sound petty until
you consider the confusion they bring and the damage they do to current
initiatives, consider this...
naked in your favourite dune and you see police coming... What do you do?
1. RELAX -
police are building good relations and will offer a friendly ‘Hello’
- or -
2. WORRY - you have to
argue about your rights with a community officer who knows little
about the law and feels duty bound to tell you to dress or return to
the NT zone
In the current climate nudists CAN'T RELAX and even
police intent on 'relationship building' are viewed with suspicion from
a distance. When nudists are harassed by officers who feel duty bound to
enforce NT management decisions the goodwill earned by other officers is lost
and mistrust reappears. This situation is also unsatisfactory.
How mixed messages occur
Dorset police, which is sub-divided into four police
divisions, are responsible for operations at Studland and officers
ranking from Superintendent to community support officer are involved.
Many have their own personal vision about the future of nudism at
SUN believe that the different visions of
nudism held by different officers from different divisions is the cause
of mixed messages at Studland and by recording officer badge numbers
it's increasingly apparent that nudist harassment is most common from
officers and PCSO's deployed from Swanage.
An example of petty police behaviour
In the northern part of the beach there are several
favourite dunes just feet beyond the National Trust posts. Many of these
dunes have been used for decades as they offer shelter from the wind,
privacy and a great view.
It is not uncommon for duty
officers to park their quad bike on the brow of FP6 and walk from one post to the next
along this ridge asking
everybody in the area to dress or move. When 'moving' is only a matter
of a few feet this very literal enforcement of the National Trust
boundary is viewed as exceedingly petty.
In the ten years of our campaign no nudist has been
arrested at Studland simply for being naked in the traditional area,
which is testimony to the fact that policing an NT boundary is a
complete waste of police time and money. It is also a direct
back-tracking on assurances made in June 2000.
Police often pay special attention to
the dunes by the National Trust posts
Backtracking on June 2000 police statements
In June 2000 a Dorset Divisional Superintendent stated
categorically the police will:
No longer be used as "National Trust puppets"
(their exact words!)
They will only attend at Studland in the event
of "specific incidents"
They will not tell nudists outside the red posts
to move back inside them
They will they not use nudists' presence outside
the red posts as a cause for harassment
They now regard the red posts, and their
continued failure to be recognised by individuals, as a civil
matter simply for the National Trust and as outwith the police
Some hope for the future
In April 2005 the National Trust offered to double the
size of the official nudist area.
When this is done even officers who do not share the
views of their Divisional Superintendent will have no reason to harass
law abiding nudists and complaints from these areas will be history.
SUN say :
Nudity is not an offence in
English law and it is not the business of
the police to enforce NT management decisions and desires.
Doing so is a gross abuse of police powers and an
obscene misuse of police resources and must stop.
The National Trust do not make the laws in this country
and there is no difference in land within or without of any
NT zone. The positioning of the posts is purely a management desire
of the National Trust with no backing either in Statute Law or National
We do not support interventionist policing which
includes: harassment; disturbance without good reason;
requests to dress or relocate; threats of arrest; misquoting
Officers and PCSO's who continue to harass law abiding
nudist do so at the cost of rebuilding good nudist
Also in Main Issues:
Three Major Issues | Twenty three years of harassment | Heather Walk exposed | Nudist & Police relations | SUN's proposed solutions